The fatal police shooting that took the life of a man armed with a knife has triggered different reactions from city officials, the police officers’ union and other civic leaders.
The incident happened Monday around 4 p.m. on the 6100 block of Locust Street in West Philadelphia. The victim has been identified as27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr.
Video on social media shows Wallace’s mother chasing after her son asking police not to shoot. Two officers tried to get Wallace to drop the knife but he walks toward the police officers still armed, then the officers opened fire, shooting at least 14 shots. Wallace later died at the hospital.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement that the video which shows the fatal police shooting raises questions that need to be answered. “My prayers are with the family and friends of Walter Wallace. I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered.”
The fatal police shooting raises questions
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said residents can be confident that the investigation already underway will answer the questions and concerns raised by the shooting.”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.”
Meanwhile, District Attorney Larry Krasner promised to stick to the facts involved in the fatal police shooting to avoid hasty “We intend to go where the facts and law lead us and to do so carefully, without rushing to judgment and without bias of any kind.”
From another perspective Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby expressed its solidarity with the officers involved, emphasizing their efforts to protect the community.”Our thoughts and prayers are with these police officers who had to use lethal force to keep themselves and the community safe.”
According to City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier, Wallace’s death is a tragedy that brings the community into mourning. “This is a downright tragedy. Walter Wallace, Jr., a resident of my district, was shot to death by police while his mother stood steps away. I extend my deepest condolences to her, and to all of this young man’s family and friends. Our whole community is mourning his loss tonight”
In addition, Gauthier reacted on Twitter to the FOP statement this way: “As our entire community grieves the loss of #WalterWallaceJr, this is the vile, inhumane statement that @FOPLodge5 saw fit to issue. @john_mcnesby, you are a huge part of the problem.”
Too much to bear
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan stated about the police fatal shooting that is a déjà vu situation. “I am heartsick, weary, and enraged. Again and again, for far too many, being Black in America has deadly consequences. The video of Walter Wallace, Jr. being shot and killed by Philadelphia police, followed by the guttural screams of his mother running to his fallen body, is too much to bear.”
ACLU PA Executive Director Reggie Shuford said that violence demands a different kind of response. “State violence cannot be the answer to societal problems that deserve a fairer, more thoughtful, and more compassionate approach.”
Community Legal Services of Philadelphia stressed the need for defunding the police.”In response to this completely avoidable tragedy and so many others, CLS is calling on the defunding of the police, and a meaningful investment in the resources to protect communities and avoid police violence. This includes social workers and mental health responders.”