Fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace in Philadelphia sparks riots

Grant Boone
October 28, 2020

Philadelphia saw violence and looting on Monday night as rioters took to the streets to protest the deadly police shooting of an armed African American man.

Unrest the previous night had injured 30 officers and led to 90 arrests, they said.

State and local officials have called for transparency and a thorough investigation into Mr Wallace's death, including the release of body camera footage from the two officers who fired their weapons.

Questions immediately swirled about why officers hadn't used a Taser to subdue him and why they fired so many rounds.

A request for comment or details about the incident was not returned by police Tuesday.

His father, Walter Wallace Sr, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that his son was on medication and struggled with his mental health.

Peaceful protests against the police's conduct began late on Tuesday afternoon local time, according to The Washington Post.

The police department warned on Twitter that "a large crowd" of around 1,000 people was looting businesses in the area of Castor and Aramingo, advising citizens to "avoid the area".

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Wallace suffered from bipolar disorder, and his psychological difficulties were relayed by his wife to the officers who encountered him before the shooting, a lawyer for his family said.

Three of Wallace's sons remembered their father during an earlier news conference surrounded by family and community members.

Mr Wallace was shot in the shoulder and chest, and was taken to hospital in a police vehicle, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, Ms Little said. The Inquirer reports that one officer was hospitalized but in stable condition after suffering a broken leg after being hit by a pickup truck.

Cathy Wallace, his mother, said one of the times, "they stood there and laughed at us".

Some stores in Philadelphia closed early Tuesday to prepare for another night of potential unrest following the Monday death of Walter Wallace. Video that was posted on social media shows the man, later identified by a City Council member as Walter Wallace Jr., walking into the street as people yell and two police officers aim their guns at him. "He has mental issues".

Protesters confront police during a march in Philadelphia. "Why you have to gun him down?" CNN also reports that Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has directed a police-controlled unit on officer-involved shootings to open an investigation.

At least one police auto was destroyed when it was set on fire, and another six cruisers were vandalized. More than a dozen officers, many with batons in hand, formed a line as they ran down 52nd Street, dispersing most of the crowd.

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