Fatal Police Shooting in Philadelphia Leads to Protests


The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) has launched an internal investigation after the fatal police shooting of a Black man, which lead to widespread protesting throughout the night in the city. Dozens of protesters were arrested, and up to 30 officers were injured amid the unrest.

27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr. was fatally shot by two PPD officers in a West Philadelphia neighborhood on Monday afternoon. Wallace’s death, which was caught on video and shared widely on social media, and is the latest incident of police violence against Black civilians that is garnering widespread outrage.

Protests began Monday night in the neighborhood and continued into the early hours of Tuesday morning. Some instances of looting were reported; injured police officers were hit by objects thrown at them during the unrest which included bricks, rocks and other forms of debris.

Police cars and dumpsters were lit on fire. Some videos posted online show officers lined up with shields as objects are thrown at them. In one location, officers with shields and batons charged protesters to force them to disperse, the Associated Press reports.

More than 90 people were arrested during the protests, NBC10 in Philadelphia reported, on charges including burglary and the assault of police officers.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, officers had responded on Monday afternoon to reports of a man with a knife. Video footage shows them engaging in a confrontation with Wallace as he walks into the street, asking him to drop a weapon (which is not seen on camera), while Wallace’s mother is seen and heard trying to de-escalate the situation.

As Wallace “advanced towards the officers,” they fired “several times,” according to a statement by the Philadelphia police department sent to TIME. A barrage of at least 7 shots is heard in the video as Wallace falls to the ground, along with cries of shock and dismay from those on the scene. (Wallace’s father told the Inquirer he believed his son had been shot as many as 10 times.)

The person filming the video yells, “Y’all ain’t have to give him that many shots.”

“My prayers are with the family and friends of Walter Wallace Jr.. I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered,” Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “I spoke tonight with Mr. Wallace’s family, and will continue to reach out to hear their concerns first-hand, and to answer their questions to the extent that I am able.”

According to the police department’s statement, one of the officers later drove Wallace to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“I recognize that the video of the incident raises many questions. Residents have my assurance that those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a statement. “While at the scene this evening, I heard and felt the anger of the community. Everyone involved will forever be impacted.”

John J. McNesby, the president of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) said that the officers are being “vilified” for doing their job and trying to keep the community safe.

“We support and defend these officers as they too are traumatized by being involved in a fatal shooting. We ask the public for its patience as investigators work to gather all the facts of this tragic incident in West Philadelphia today,” McNesby said in a Monday statement.

Write to Josiah Bates at josiah.bates@time.com.





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