Philadelphia police to release body cam footage of Wallace shooting amid unrest
The two officers who shot Walter Wallace Jr. didn't have tasers, but they were wearing body cameras.
The Philadelphia Police Department has announced that it will release the body camera footage of the fatal shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. by two officers.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has promised a transparent investigation, and the release of the footage is a key component of that goal. It will be released to the public after it’s first shared with the Wallace family.
Outlaw has admitted that the officers who responded to the call from Catherine Wallace, the slain man’s mother, did not have tasers. She has also stated that the city needs methods to deal with mental health calls.
The Wallace family said, via an attorney, that the 911 call that precipitated the man’s death was not for police, but for an ambulance.
“We don’t have a behavioral health unit, which is sorely needed,” said Outlaw, according to Associated Press. “There’s clearly a disconnect on our end, in terms of knowing what’s out there.”
Officers fired at least a dozen shots at Wallace after he advanced toward them armed with a knife; a fatal shot struck the 27-year-old man in the chest.
Protests in Philadelphia have resulted in the arrest of at least 90 people. Demonstrations have varied, from peaceful marches to the looting of a Foot Locker store and a Walmart. Protests have also taken place in Washington, D.C. and New York City.
An attorney for the Wallace family says Wallace Jr. had nine children, and his wife, Dominique, is pregnant. As of Thursday morning, a GoFundMe account benefiting her, with a target goal of $5,000, had reached over $155,000.
Wallace Jr.’s eight-year-old son, Zamir, spoke at a news conference Tuesday on the steps of the family’s West Philadelphia home, where he said his father would always take him places, and “he always taught me how to be a man.”
“And,” he added after a pause, “these White, racist cops got my own dad because …” The boy paused again, emotionally, then declared, “And Black lives still matter.”
Outlaw has said that the two officers involved in Wallace Jr.’s shooting have been taken off street duty, and their names are being withheld until the department can be sure that releasing their information would not pose a threat to their safety.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, who imposed a citywide 9 p.m. curfew for the City of Brotherly Love after two consecutive nights of unrest, said the incident has amplified the fact that Philly has “limited resources, and we have a large number of people with problems. We need to do a better job.”