Walter Wallace Jr. was fatally shot by Philadelphia police on Monday
Philadelphia police responded to three disturbance calls from Walter Wallace Jr.’s home on Monday and the last visit resulted in the 27-year-old being fatally shot.
Law enforcement sources told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday that authorities went to Wallace’s home twice before his deadly encounter with police. Furthermore, there were at least 31 calls made since May from that address. The issues ranged from low priority to an individual described as making threats and in possession of weapons.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw did not discuss why the officers were called to Wallace’s home prior to the shooting at a press conference held on Tuesday. Outlaw also would not confirm if the officers who shot Wallace were aware of earlier calls for help from the residence. She did address why the officers involved in the shooting responded to the disturbance call with guns rather than tasers.
“Every police officer is not issued a taser at this time,” Outlaw said.
As theGrio previously reported, Wallace died on Monday after two police officers claimed he “advanced” on them with a knife. The responding officers fired their service weapons “several times,” wounding Wallace who was at least 10 feet away. He later died at the hospital.
Walter Wallace, Sr., told The Inquirer that his son may have been shot as many as 10 times even as his mother begged police not to shoot. He questioned the excessive use of force.
“Why didn’t they use a Taser?” the senior Wallace asked outside a family residence on the 6100 block of Locust in the city’s Cobbs Creek neighborhood. “His mother was trying to defuse the situation.”
Wallace’s father added that his son was on medication due to “mental health issues.”
“Why you have to gun him down?” Wallace Sr. told the outlet.
Outlaw did not put an immediate timetable as to when body cam footage of the incident would be available. Wallace’s shooting was captured on bystander video and posted to social media.
“We are currently reviewing everything that we have right now to ensure what we can release and by when we can do that. I can commit to releasing information or actually commit to communicating what information will be released in the next 48 to 72 hours. Whether or not the body cam footage will be a part of that, I don’t know at this point in the day, but I am committed to being transparent as possible,” Outlaw said.
Protests erupted in West Philadelphia after Wallace’s death. The demonstrations turned violent and businesses along the city’s 52nd street commercial corridor were looted including a Footlocker, hair store and other independently owned businesses. A female police officer was hospitalized after she was hit by a pickup truck and a police SUV was set on fire.
This was the same corridor that was vandalized and looted in June during protests after George Floyd‘s death in Minneapolis.
Outlaw has requested aid from surrounding counties.
“We anticipate the chance of additional incidents of civil unrest,” Outlaw said during the press conference. “And as such, we will be taking additional steps to ensure order. We will increase our officer presence around the city at key locations.”
Mayor Jim Kenney plead for protesters not to destroy any property and referenced incidents that took place following the death of George Floyd in May while in police custody.
“We’ve been through a very difficult time, we recognize that. End of May through the beginning of June was difficult. Looting is not protests and vandalism is not protests,” Kenney said.
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