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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Family of Black Man Killed in Philly Say They Called 911 For an Ambulance, Not the Police

Parents of Walter Wallace

Nationwide — Walter Wallace, a 27-year old Black man from Philadelphia, was killed by police this week as he held a knife. His family, however, says they called 911 to get help with his mental health crisis and were expecting an ambulance – not two police officers who came instead and shot their son repeatedly.

According to reports, police arrived at the scene and found Wallace holding a knife. Officers ordered him to drop it, but he reportedly “advanced towards” them. Two officers then fired at least 7 shots each, unclear how many times Wallace was struck.

Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., claimed his son was on medication and that he struggled with mental health issues.

“Why didn’t they use a taser?” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Why you have to gun him down?”

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the officers, who have yet been disclosed due to safety reasons, didn’t have a Taser or similar device, noting that the department had been asking for fund before to equip more officers with those devices. They were taken of street duty pending the investigation.

Moreover, a video recorded by a bystander and posted on social media showed the whole incident. A woman, identified as Wallace’s mother, was also seen trying to get him to listen to the police until the police repeatedly shot at him. It was unclear in the video whether he was holding a knife but witnesses said he was.

Wallace was shot in the shoulder and the chest. He was taken to the hospital where he was later on pronounced dead.

Meanwhile, the incident sparked outrage and violent protests ensued in the neighborhood, with people saying the police used excessive force during the incident. At least 30 officers were injured and 91 people were arrested.