The Philadelphia Police Department found a van filled with explosives in the middle of unrest over the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.
Since the police killing of 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr., Philadelphia has exploded into an outcry over the man, who reportedly suffered from bipolar disorder. The protests have gone on for more than three days and in the midst of it, police came across a van that was filled with explosives. According to USA Today, police recovered propane tanks and possible dynamite sticks from the van Wednesday and there are no details on if anyone has been arrested in connection with the vehicle, WPVI reports.
City officials have implemented a citywide curfew, and police have been patrolling the neighborhood where Wallace was killed. Mayor Jim Kennet said the Pennsylvania National Guard will be deployed to help protect property and help out police. On Wednesday, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said during a news conference that she plans to release the 911 tapes and police body camera footage as soon as the department shares it with the family.
The streets of Philadelphia have erupted into days of protests following the killing of Wallace. Camera footage captured Wallace being shot by two Philadelphia police officers who responded to a call about a man who was wielding a knife. In the video, you can see police draw their guns once they see Wallace has a weapon. Wallace then begins to walk towards the officers while his family members yell for him to drop the knife. Police then fired multiple shots at the man, killing him.
Neither of the officers had taser guns, despite their department being financially able to equip all its officers with electrical weapons. Johnson said that if the officers had a less-lethal option, like a taser, the result of the incident may have been different. “The officers did not have what they needed. There wasn’t a less-than-lethal option available. They didn’t have tasers,” Johnson explained. “A person is in mental decline and in crisis,” CNN reports that there are about 4,500 patrol officers on the Philadelphia police force and the department has 2,300 Tasers, according to Outlaw. The department receives $900,000 a year for electrical weapons, which would allow them to buy a few hundred a year, Johnson highlights.
The video was recorded by JaHiem Simpson, who told CNN that Wallace’s mother previously told police before they came, that Wallace had mental health issues. Shaka Johnson, an attorney for Wallace’s family, said relatives had made at least three calls to authorities that day.