Philly Erupts in Protest After Fatal Police Shooting of Black Man

Cops say Walter Wallace Jr., 27, wouldn't drop knife when ordered to
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2020 6:44 AM CDT
Philly Erupts in Protest After Fatal Police Shooting of Black Man
A police car burns during a protest in response to the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. on Monday in Philadelphia.   (Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

A police vehicle was set on fire, businesses were looted, and at least a dozen cops were hurt Monday night in Philadelphia after a 27-year-old Black man died during a police shooting earlier in the day. The Washington Post and the AP report that Walter Wallace Jr. was shot dead in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood after police responded to a call about a man with a knife around 4pm. Video taken by a bystander shows officers confronting Wallace and ordering him to drop the knife; as he approaches them from behind a car, at least one officer appears to order him to drop the knife. They then both fire at Wallace multiple times from several feet away; Wallace collapses in the street. A police spokesperson says an officer drove Wallace to a local hospital, where he died. Wallace's family is now demanding answers, saying Wallace suffered from mental health issues and had been on medication.

"Why you have to gun him down?" his father, Walter Wallace Sr., says, per the Philadelphia Inquirer, noting that his son's mother had been at the scene trying to tamp down tensions. "Why didn't they use a Taser?" Hundreds of protesters took to the streets after the shooting, and one cop was hospitalized with a broken leg after getting hit by a speeding truck, WTXF reports. Police in riot gear broke up the demonstration around midnight. "I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered," Philly Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. Meanwhile, the head of the local police union notes "our police officers are being vilified this evening for doing their job and keeping the community safe, after being confronted by a man with a knife," per the Inquirer. Both officers involved in the shooting have been taken off street duty during an investigation. (More Walter Wallace Jr. stories.)

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