Philadelphia became the latest city to see a police officer take a Black man's life on Monday. Walter Wallace Jr. was killed by two cops, who were called onto the scene where Wallace was reported with a weapon. The viral video shows the 27-year-old standing with a knife and appearing to circle the block as the officers stood by. One cop can be heard yelling "put the knife down" as Wallace's mother followed her child, attempting to de-escalate the situation.
The scene took a turn for the worse when Wallace walked out into the middle of the street about 10-15 feet from the officers who then opened fire on him. About 10 rounds could be heard going off as bystanders began to frantically rush onto the scene, led by Wallace's mother. Later it was revealed by the police that each person fired off seven rounds. The officers' names have yet to be disclosed even after Tuesday's press conference by Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.
This is Walter Wallace Jr., who police shot killed in Philadelphia yesterday. He was 27 years old and the father of three children.
Rest in power, Walter. pic.twitter.com/OlN8bcBidE— Rebecca Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) October 27, 2020
Another layer of this incident is that Wallace reportedly struggled with mental health, according to his family. NBC10 Philadelphia quoted his cousin as telling them that mental health and depression were both things he struggled with at times. The 9-1-1 call that was made was said to have stemmed from Wallace having a mental breakdown and one of his family members called the cops to attempt to calm him down. His cousin said the cops were informed of his mental struggles when they arrived on the scene.
As was the case following the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor murders, protests and riots ensued that evening in West Philly. During her press conference, Outlaw informed reporters that at least 30 officers were hurt during the riots. Throughout the evening and into the early morning hours, videos surfaced on social media as police in riot gear were combatting rioters and looters, including cars being set ablaze. One officer, a 56-year-old sergeant, was intentionally run over by a pickup truck and suffered a broken leg.
A group protesting through west philly being followed slowly by cars honking in support and drivers leaning out their windows cheering pic.twitter.com/WeDpiM1nnX— Anna Orso (@anna_orso) October 27, 2020
Amid his race to become the 46th president of the United States, Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris shared a joint statement explaining how their "hearts are broken for the family." They mentioned Wallace's mental health and said that knowing this information makes "the shock and grief and violence" that much more devastation. "Walter Wallace's life, like too many others, was a Black life that mattered," the statement concluded.