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Thread: Walter Wallace Jr. (27) Killed by Philadelphia Police

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    Walter Wallace Jr. (27) Killed by Philadelphia Police

    https://apnews.com/article/body-cam-...8996abaf374361

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) ? The police commissioner in Philadelphia said at a briefing Wednesday that her department will release 911 tapes and footage from police body cameras ?in the near future? in the shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr.

    Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said officials will do so after talking with Wallace?s family members to prepare them.

    She also said the police department should move ?as soon as possible? to integrate with mental health services.

    Mayor Jim Kenney said looting prevention and assistance to the police are the reasons the city asked for the National Guard to be deployed after two nights of unrest after the police killing of Wallace.

    Kenney, a Democrat, said that 23 officers were treated and released for injuries, often bruises, after objects were thrown at them.

    The first troops are expected Friday and Saturday, Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said.

    Outlaw said the police department was caught off guard by looting in the city?s Port Richmond neighborhood, far from the protests near the shooting scene in west Philadelphia.

    She said she has learned the department needs to have more resources at the ready, even beyond those deployed to the demonstrations at hand.

    Kenney says restaurants, grocery stores and pharmacies can elect to do deliveries after a 9 p.m. curfew that was announced earlier.

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) ? A tense Philadelphia braced for more demonstrations Wednesday over the police killing of a Black man following two nights of protests that set off clashes with police and break-ins of stores on the other side of the city.

    The death of Walter Wallace Jr., who was fatally shot by police Monday after authorities say he ignored orders to drop a knife, came amid already heightened tensions in the battleground state just days before the election. City officials announced Wednesday they would enact a curfew in the city from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m.

    About 500 people gathered in a West Philadelphia park Tuesday evening, marching to the nearby police headquarters where officers were stationed with riot shields. Some of the demonstrators threw debris at officers, according to police, and both sides later clashed.

    Police said two officers were injured, although authorities did not disclose the extent of their injuries.

    Some business owners were cleaning up damage and boarding up windows and doors Wednesday after video showed people streaming into stores and stealing goods on the opposite side of the city from where Wallace was shot. The National Guard is slated to arrive in the next few days to focus on guarding infrastructure, state and city officials said.

    The clashes come as Pennsylvania emerges as a key focus of the contentious 2020 election, with President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, a native son, locked in a battle for the state?s 20 electoral votes. Both candidates have made frequent campaign stops in the state.

    More than 9 million Pennsylvanians have registered to vote, and many in Philadelphia waited in line for hours this week to request a mail-in ballot by Tuesday?s deadline, as news of the police shooting spread.

    Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, said Tuesday the city had been through ?a very difficult time,? but said vandalism was not the answer.

    ?There were a lot of peaceful protesters out there last night,? Kenney said at a news conference on Wallace?s death. However, he said. violence ?is not an acceptable form of First Amendment expression.?

    A Kenney spokesperson said Wednesday the city has requested help from the Pennsylvania National Guard to help with ?the current situation and election preparation.? Specific details were still being worked out, and none have yet been deployed.

    The unrest started Monday evening, shortly after Wallace, 27, was killed, and set off protests elsewhere, including in Washington, D.C., the Brooklyn borough of New York City and Portland, Oregon, where demonstrators held their hands in the shape of a ?W? in his honor.

    Police said Wallace was wielding a knife and ignored orders to drop the weapon before officers fired shots Monday afternoon. But his family?s lawyer said the family had called for an ambulance to get him help with a mental health crisis. His parents said Tuesday that officers knew their son was in a mental health crisis because they had been to the family?s house three times on Monday.

    Full Coverage: Racial injustice
    Wallace?s wife, Dominique, is pregnant and was scheduled to be induced Wednesday, according to the family?s attorney, Shaka Johnson. Johnson said Wallace had nine children, two of whom briefly spoke at a news conference late Tuesday, along with Wallace?s mother and father.

    ?When you come to a scene where somebody is in a mental crisis, and the only tool you have to deal with it is a gun ... where are the proper tools for the job?? Johnson said, arguing that Philadelphia police officers are not properly trained to handle mental health crises. Johnson said Wallace?s brother had called 911 to request medical assistance and an ambulance.

    Police officials said they could not confirm what information had been given to the responding officers, whether they were told about a possible mental illness or how many calls they had received for help at Wallace?s address Monday. Chief Police Inspector Frank Vanore confirmed that police had received a call before the fatal encounter Monday about a man screaming and saying that he was armed with a knife.

    Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the officers involved in the shooting were taken off street duty as they investigate. Outlaw said the officers? names and other identifying information, including their race, would be withheld until the department could be sure releasing the information would not pose a threat to their safety.

    Neither had a Taser or similar device at the time of the shooting, Outlaw said, noting the department had previously asked for funding to equip more officers with those devices.

    The two officers each fired at least seven rounds ? at least 14 total shots ? but Vanore could not say how many times Wallace was struck.

    Wallace?s father, Walter Wallace Sr. said Tuesday night that he is haunted by the way his son was ?butchered.?

    ?It?s in my mind. I can?t even sleep at night. I can?t even close my eyes,? he said.

    In video filmed by a bystander and posted on social media, officers could be seen yelling for Wallace to drop a knife. In the video, Wallace?s mother and at least one man followed Wallace, trying to get him to listen to officers, as he briskly walked across the street and between cars.

    Wallace advanced toward the officers, who then fired several times, said police spokesperson Officer Tanya Little. Wallace?s mother could be seen screaming and throwing something at an officer after her son was shot and fell to the ground.

    The video does not make it clear whether he was in fact holding a knife, but witnesses said he was. Police would not confirm any details about the weapon Wallace was alleged to be holding Tuesday, saying it is still part of the open investigation.

    Wallace was hit in the shoulder and chest, Little said. One officer drove him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, she said.

    Lawyer Robert Trimble represented Wallace in a 2016 robbery case that led him to spend about a year in jail. His sentence, according to court records, included six years of probation and mental health supervision. He had new charge pending at the time of his death.

    ?I ran into him about a year ago by City Hall. He stopped me on the street and thanked me for helping him,? Trimble said. ?I remember him being a decent guy.?

    Wallace?s death set off demonstrations Monday night, leading to the arrest of more than 90 people. Police said 30 officers were injured Monday, most of them hit with objects like bricks.

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    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-g...-idUSKBN27E362

    PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Philadelphia police officers who shot and killed a Black man under mental duress should probably not be charged with murder, a lawyer for the man’s family said on Thursday, saying they lacked training and equipment to handle the situation.

    Shaka Johnson made the comments after viewing the bodycam footage of Monday’s incident, in which 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr. was gunned down by two officers responding to what his relatives say was a call for help with a mental health crisis.

    Johnson said the footage shows one of the officers saying “shoot him” before they both fired at Wallace, who was not heeding their orders to drop a knife. He said the footage also showed Wallace dealing with an “obvious mental health crisis.”

    While saying he did not think the officers should face murder charges, Johnson added that he hoped the investigation into Wallace’s death would lead to policing reforms to help prevent similar shootings in the future.

    He noted that one of the officers was a “rookie” with less than two years on the force

    It was instant panic from those officers,” said Johnson, a former police officer who is now a criminal defense attorney.

    “The city has also failed those police officers. It failed them tremendously. The only remedy the police had in that moment, per their thinking, was their service weapon.”

    Johnson, who was flanked at the briefing by Wallace’s father and mother, said the family would like to see all Philadelphia police officers equipped with tasers. The two officers who fired a total of 14 rounds at Wallace did not have tasers on them.

    “I pray things change. I pray we all one day can come together and get along. Cause this gotta stop,”said Kathy Brant, Wallace’s mother, who can be heard on a video of the shooting shared on social media pleading with the officers not to shoot.

    John McNesby, the president of the local police union, has defended the officers, who have not been identified publicly, saying they “worked to resolve this incident under a great deal of stress” while noting that Wallace was wielding a knife.

    The shooting turned Philadelphia into the latest flashpoint in a months-long series of protests over racism and policing across the United States ignited by the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who died after a Minneapolis police officer pinned his neck to the street.

    After two nights marked by violence and looting, however, tensions calmed significantly on Wednesday evening after the city set a citywide curfew after 9 p.m. The curfew will not be implemented again on Thursday, the mayor’s office said.

    The decision on whether to prosecute the officers will fall to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who said on Tuesday he had not decided whether charges were warranted. Krasner did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

    Johnson said the bodycam footage showed Wallace was not lunging at the officers and estimated he was 1-1/2 car lengths away from the police when they fired. He said the officers had effectively served as judge and jury in the matter.

    “The sentence they decided was appropriate for him was death.”

    But Johnson also asked those present at his press briefing in front of City Hall to pray for the officers, along with the Wallace’s family. Wallace’s wife, he noted, had just given birth to a daughter.

    “There is trauma on both sides of this particular situation,” Johnson said.

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    https://www.npr.org/2020/11/04/93159...ace-jr-shootin

    Philadelphia city officials on Wednesday released "traumatic" bodycam footage worn by the officers who fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr. last week, urging the public to remain calm as the city comes under national scrutiny for the shooting.

    The Philadelphia Police Department also released multiple 911 calls made by neighbors and Wallace's own family, pleading for help as the 27-year-old experienced a violent psychological episode.

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    Fatal Police Shooting In Philadelphia Sparks A 2nd Night Of Protests
    The bodycam videos begin as officers Sean Matarazzo and Thomas Munz stand outside of Wallace's parents' home — a brick row house with a small porch. It is unclear if the officers knocked on the front door, but as they wait on the sidewalk, about 15 feet away, someone inside the house can be heard saying, "Put the knife down," three distinct times.

    But the 27-year-old Black man steps out of the screen door and onto the porch holding a large knife in his right hand.

    Both Matarazzo and Munz immediately shout at Wallace to "drop the weapon." Between them, they repeat some variation of the command about 11 times.

    Wallace ignores the orders and begins to move off the steps and toward the officers with the knife at his side. He then turns away from Matarazzo and Munz, who both have their weapons drawn. Wallace's mother follows her son into the street, grabbing at him and standing between him and the officers. One officer — it's unclear which of the two — calls for her to move away from Wallace.

    Another man also runs after Wallace as he reaches the opposite sidewalk. Both officers appear to be standing in the middle of the narrow, residential street.

    Then Wallace turns and makes his way back toward the middle of the road.

    Throughout the chaos, another woman can be heard repeatedly yelling that Wallace is "mental." Neither officer appears to acknowledge her cries.

    In one of the videos, a male voice — it's unclear who — can be heard saying, "Get him," and "Shoot him."

    Seconds later, each officer fires at least seven rounds at Wallace and he drops to the ground facedown.

    His mother runs toward her son wailing and screaming, "You killed my son! You killed my son!"

    Police have not said how many times Wallace was struck.

    As other officers arrive on the scene, one of the officers says, "He was f****** chasing us."

    Wallace never appears to get closer than 10 to 15 feet from Matarazzo or Munz.

    During an afternoon press conference before the videos were released, District Attorney Larry Krasner said that only part of the footage had been released "at the request of the Wallace family." Krasner tried to head off any potential unrest that may follow the release of the footage.

    "We understand that the materials released today will be very painful. It will elicit anger, rage, distress, evoke more questions, and rightfully so," he said.

    The shooting on Oct. 26, sparked days of violent clashes in the city between protesters and police, who have been accused of using excessive force against Black residents.

    Krasner acknowledged the "traumatic" impact of the videos and added, "I ask all of us to work together to ensure this moment does not lead to further division in our communities."

    It is the first time the department has publicly released bodycam footage for a police shooting.

    "We know this moment is incredibly painful, given so many failures over generations to protect all of Philadelphia's residents, especially those who are Black or brown, as we continue making measurable steps toward building equity, inclusive and public safety in our city, releasing this footage is a step, but also an indication of this failure," Krasner said.

    Walter Wallace Jr.'s Family Does Not Want Police Officers To Face Murder Charges
    AMERICA RECKONS WITH RACIAL INJUSTICE
    Walter Wallace Jr.'s Family Does Not Want Police Officers To Face Murder Charges
    The shooting is under investigation by Krasner's office as well as the Philadelphia Police Department's internal affairs unit. The outcome of the investigations will determine whether charges will be filed against the officers.

    Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said on Wednesday that 25-year-old Matarazzo joined the force in 2018, while 26-year-old Munz has been on the force since 2017.

    Neither of them was carrying a Taser, Outlaw said, noting the department had previously asked for funding to equip more officers with those devices.

    She pledged to put reforms in place by late next year, including more de-escalation training and improving coordination with mental health specialists.

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    https://www.npr.org/2020/10/29/92936...murder-charges

    Walter Wallace Jr.'s family is seeking justice but they are not advocating for the officers who killed the 27-year-old Black man to be charged with murder.

    The family, including Wallace's mother and wife who were at the scene of the killing, privately reviewed the police body camera footage of the fatal shooting early Thursday morning.

    According to their attorney, Shaka Johnson, the brief 30 to 40 second video put on display the systematic failings of the Philadelphia Police Department who armed the officers with "a tool by which to assassinate" instead of a less lethal device such as a Taser.

    When asked why the family, who has yet to bury Wallace, would not want to pursue murder charges against the two officers who fired seven rounds each into him on Monday, Johnson replied, "Here's why: they were improperly trained and did not have the proper equipment by which to effectuate their job."

    Johnson, however, noted the onus is not on the family to pursue charges. It is up to District Attorney Larry Krasner. The family does intend to file a wrongful death suit.

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    The attorney described the final moments of Wallace's life as they were captured in the body cam footage, saying the officers made no attempt to diffuse the chaotic situation upon their arrival. On the contrary, he said, it was clear the officers intended to kill the mentally unstable man.

    According to the family, they called 911 to summon an ambulance that would help them calm Wallace who was experiencing a psychological episode. But instead of healthcare professionals trained to handle such situations it was the two officers who showed up. By then, Wallace was weaving through traffic holding a knife.

    Johnson said he looked like a person in "obvious mental health crisis."

    "You will see a person walking around not even speaking," said Johnson, remarking that it looked as if Wallace was "in a cloud."

    The family has said Wallace had been taking lithium, a mood stabilizer used to treat bipolar disorder.

    The video captures audio of one officer telling the other to "shoot him" before both opened fire, Johnson said. At the time, he added, Wallace was approximately a car and a half-length away.

    Johnson also claims the video shows Wallace was incapacitated after the first shot.

    "I understand he had a knife ... and I think that does not give you carte blanche to execute a man," he said.

    The officers involved in the shooting claim Wallace advanced toward them with the knife but the family disputes that account. Several videos recorded by bystanders show at least one officer shouted for Wallace to put down the weapon.

    But Johnson said, proper deescalation involves more than yelling, "drop the knife, drop the knife."

    The officers' names have not been released. Both have been suspended from active patrol and remain on desk duty.

    Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has pledged to release the video and audio tapes.
    Mayor Jim Kenney and District Attorney Larry Krasner released a joint statement Thursday night saying the footage and 911 audio files will be released by the end of next week.

    "The Administration and the District Attorney expect BWC footage and 911 audio files to be released by the end of next week after certain matters are resolved in close consultation with Mr. Wallace's family and their legal counsel," the statement read.

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