Protests in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, turned violent on Monday night, leading to a police officer being run over in the early hours of Tuesday morning. According to a report by CBS News, a pick-up truck driving "relatively fast" in the city hit a 56-year-old female officer, who was hospitalized with a broken leg and other injuries. Philadelphia Police Sergeant Eric Gripp told reporters that the injured officer is in stable condition.
Video footage seems to show the moment after the collision when a truck passes with a man standing through the roof of the cab. A bystander can be heard saying: "Oh my god, he hit a cop." Police say they found the vehicle nearby and unoccupied later on. This incident followed mass protests overnight after Philadelphia police shot and killed 27-year-old Walter Wallace, Jr.
At the Philadelphia BLM riot, a cop got hit or run over by a speeding vehicle. pic.twitter.com/S12XuEoNAi— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) October 27, 2020
Police were called about a man brandishing a knife at around 2:45 p.m. ET, and when they responded they saw Wallace walking around the street and behaving erratically with the weapon in hand. Cell phone footage from bystanders shows Wallace apparently walking toward two officers, who had their guns trained on him. They fired several shots, dropping Wallace. They took him to a nearby hospital where he died shortly after.
Police say that the officers ordered Wallace to drop the knife and stop advancing, but he ignored them, according to the Associated Press. However, witnesses said that they felt police had plenty of other options besides killing Wallace — even shooting him in the leg, if necessary.
"Why didn't they use a Taser?" Wallace's father wondered in an interview with reporters. "His mother was trying to defuse the situation. Why you have to gun him down?"
Walter Wallace, Sr. told reporters that his son had mental health issues, and was on medication. The two officers who shot him have been taken off duty and are under investigation, but that did not stem the outrage around the city.
Police said they made 30 arrests over the course of Monday night, mostly for vandalism and looting. They also say that 29 officers were treated at hospitals throughout the night, in addition to the one who was hit by a car. Some were reportedly hit by thrown rocks, but all have now been released except for the one with the broken leg.
Police and local officials are asking Philadelphians to wait for the results of the city's investigation to come out to understand the full story. However, the executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Reggie Shuford, said that the city "is overdue for a reckoning with the brazenly violent and abusive behavior in its police department. ... Video from the incident suggests that no one was in immediate danger when officers killed him."