The Philadelphia Police Department has released body-cam footage of the fatal shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.
Twenty-seven-year-old Wallace is one of the latest victims of a police violence incident that happened last week in West Philadelphia. His death was recorded on video by a bystander, as well as by police body-cam footage. The video was released by the police department and the District Attorney’s Office today. Like in other recordings, police can be seen reporting to the scene after receiving a 911 call from a woman who said her brother was beating their mother and father. According to CNN, the family said he had bipolar disorder and was currently dealing with a mental health crisis at the time.
Wallace can be seen walking down the steps of his home outside as police yell for him to put down the knife that he has in his hands. A woman can be heard in the background telling officers that Wallace is “mental” as the man seemingly starts walking toward the police officers. The officers tell Wallace repeatedly to “back up” and drop the knife. One of the officer’s body-cam footage captures one of the officers telling the other to “shoot him.” Police then fired into Wallace and he falls to the ground. The woman, who turned out to be Wallace’s mother cried out, “you murdered him” to the police. As people surrounded Wallace’s body, one of the officers says, “We have to get him to the hospital.” At one point, one of the officers is heard saying “he was f*cking chasing us.”
The Philadelphia PD said the video was approved by the family to be released. Wallace’s family says they do not want the officers charged with murder, explaining that they were not trained properly and that they did not have the right equipment to do their job. The department released a statement saying their officers followed training and protocol. “These officers followed their training and police department policy. It’s completely inappropriate that these officers continue to be vilified for doing their job,” the statement reads.
During a news conference, Mayor Jim Kenney said the footage would be heartbreaking for the city that has already been in unrest. “We understand that the materials released today will be very painful, it will elicit anger, rage, distress, and will elicit more questions and rightfully so,” Kenney said. The mayor said he apologizes as a member of law enforcement, highlighting how he questions whether police violence has changed. “Seeing another life lost yet again to police violence can make many of us question if anything has changed or if anything will ever change, but this is why we are releasing this footage because things have to change and they are changing,” Kenney said.