Monday afternoon, Philadelphia police shot a 27-year-old man named Walter Wallace, Jr. A cell phone video showed the scene in question. Wallace is seen in the video brandishing a knife and walking towards the officers who had arms drawn. Wallace’s mother can be seen attempting to defuse the situation by grabbing him but he broke away and continued towards the officers who then proceeded to open fire.
The protests began just hours after the incident that same day. The police have said that around 30 officers have been injured as they have clashed with protestors.
Walter Wallace, Sr., the victim’s father, questioned the necessity of deadly force. “Why didn’t they use a taser?” asked Wallace outside of his home. “His mother was trying to defuse the situation.” He continued to explain that his son suffered from mental health issues. A bystander, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, told the police not to shoot Wallace.
Mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, said in a statement, “I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered. 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.”
This marks the latest wave of protests in response to the shooting of an African-American person, not long after 19-year-old Marcellis Stinnette was killed by police in Waukegan, Ill. on Oct. 20.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner stated, “In the hours and days following this shooting, we ask Philadelphians to come together to uphold people’s freedom to express themselves peacefully and to reject violence of any kind.”