Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw will soon release the 911 call that brought police to their fatal encounter with Walter Wallace Jr. She intends in “a couple of days” to release the audio and a transcript. The key information will also include the body camera footage from the officers who responded to Walter Wallace’s home.
Wallace, a 27-year African- American, was shot and killed Monday during a confrontation with police in West Philadelphia. His family has said he suffered from bipolar disorder and was in crisis at the time of the shooting. A family attorney said Wallace was a mental health patient who was prescribed lithium.
Police said there was a call reporting a man with a knife, KYW reported. “Responding officers witnessed a male on the block. Immediately they noticed he had a knife in his possession and he was brandishing it, and waving it erratically,” Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Gripp told KYW.
Danielle Outlaw will also release a premise history detailing the previous police response to the home, she said.
Authorities are investigating what the two responding officers knew when they answered a call about a man with a knife.
“This investigation has many moving parts and we are working hard to ensure that a fair and thorough investigation takes place,” Danielle Outlaw said. But before any of the materials are released, Wallace’s family will have the opportunity to review them first, she said.
Shaka Johnson, an attorney for Wallace’s family, said relatives had made at least three calls to authorities that day. The initial call was for an ambulance, he said, but police arrived first.
At a Tuesday news conference, police officials did not provide information about whether officers were there earlier in the day. They did not say what officers knew of the situation prior to arrival.
One of the most significant aspects of the incident is the fact that the officers involved in the incident were not carrying tasers at the time they confronted Wallace.
Danielle Outlaw talks about the tasers
There are about 4,500 patrol officers on the Philadelphia police force and the department has 2,300 Tasers, Danielle Outlaw said in the news conference Wednesday.
The department gets $900,000 a year for the electrical weapons, enough to buy a few hundred per year, the Police Commissioner said.
“What the conversation is today is how do we ensure that we get enough Tasers so that every officer, at least every officer that’s working in operations, has a Taser,” Danielle Outlaw said and added that the city is supportive of that goal.