Philadelphia Police shot and killed a suspected armed with a knife Oct. 26. The shooting of Walter Wallace led to an immediate response of violent protest in the community. In the aftermath, at least 30 police officers suffered injury during the unrest. Police then arrested another 30 rioters during the melee.
Philadelphia Police Release Body Cam Footage From Walter Wallace Shooting
Now the Philadelphia Police Department updated the conversation, releasing body cam footage from the fatal shooting. According to police, the footage shows the officers operated correctly. And it further illustrates they used an appropriate level of lethal force.
“These officers followed their training and police department policy. It’s completely inappropriate that these officers continue to be vilified for doing their job,” said a Philadelphia police union statement, reported CNN.
Footage shows officers repeatedly warn and command Wallace to put down the knife. In total, the officers issue at least two dozen commands of “put the knife down” or some variant. Conversely, Wallace’s mother pleads that her son suffers from mental illness.
“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,” Mayor Jim Kenney told CNN.
Wallace Advanced on Officers
But ultimately the footage shows Wallace as the aggressor. He clearly brandishes a knife, and he stalks toward officers as he ignores their commands. Neither officer carried a Taser, limiting their options, noted CNN.
“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, reported CNN.
Despite the footage, the attorney for the family of the deceased Wallace, Shaka Johnson, said the suspect clearly suffered from an “obvious mental health crisis,” reported CNN. But rather than calling for officers’ punishment, the family seeks better training and less lethal equipment for officers.
“It seems to be a person in sort of a cloud or a stupor or just not appreciating the gravity of that particular moment, which would align perfectly with what the family was shouting, ‘he’s mental, he’s mental,'” Johnson said, according to CNN. “He was behaving like a person who didn’t appreciate the gravity of the circumstances.”