Police prepare for protests after officer-involved shooting in Philadelphia leaves criminal dead

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – Police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania got into a vehicle pursuit with a man who was armed with a gun.

When the subject crashed his car during the pursuit, he began to fire on the officers, prompting them to return fire, striking and killing the man.

The incident occurred on November 12th when officers in an unmarked police vehicle noted a red Ford Mustang that was stopped in an intersection near B and Stella Streets.

The officers honked their horn, apparently hoping the driver would move out of the intersection and allow them to pass, but the car did not move.

Officers exited their vehicle and approached the man, who was holding a gun in his hand. When they got the man’s attention, he seemed startled and fled. 

The vehicle pursuit continued until the car crashed near Jasper Street and Hart Lane. The driver, who has not been identified at this time, took off in an attempt to get away from the officers. 

Fearing for their lives, the officers returned fire, striking the man. Officers rushed into render aid to the man, and called for medics to respond to the scene. Once they arrived, they transported the suspect to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Thankfully, the police were not injured during the incident. The officers involved will be placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is normal procedure for these cases. 

Philadelphia Police Sergeant Eric Gripp said:

“When the officers in their unmarked vehicle came upon that crash, one of the officers exited the vehicle and stayed with the crashed vehicle to preserve that scene. While the other officer stayed inside of their unmarked car to try to ascertain the location of the driver.

“Shortly thereafter, he came upon this male…at which point the officer exited his vehicle [and] attempted to stop the male. From what we have through surveillance footage and body cam footage…it appears that the offender fired at least two shots at our police officer. 

“Our police officer fired at least two shots in return, striking the male…that male was transported by police to Einstein Hospital and was pronounced dead shortly thereafter…

This is a very fluid situation…while this investigation is taking place, it will be handled by our Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit along with Internal Affairs who will provide the results of their concurrent investigations to the District Attorney’s Office.”

Action News Christie Ileto was able to obtain video footage of some of the pursuit. 

On twitter, she said:

“New dash cam video shows the 39 year old suspect in the red mustang fleeing from police, driving the wrong way and almost hitting Avi D, in his car. The suspect eventually crashed, and fled on foot before exchanging shots with @PhillyPolice.”

At this point, police stated that they have identified the male as a 39-year-old Hispanic, but they are not releasing his name. This is most likely because they have not made contact with the man’s next of kin.

The City of Philadelphia is just getting over the mass riots, protests, and looting that occurred after police shot and killed Walter Wallace, Jr. In that incident, police were called because Wallace was threatening family members with a knife.

When police arrived on the scene, they made contact with Wallace who was still armed with the knife. Officers backed up, almost to the point of running away from Wallace, while shouting orders for the man to drop the knife, which he ignored.

After several orders were ignored and Wallace appeared to pick up his pace towards officers, they opened fire, striking and killing him at the scene.

Despite the video evidence which proves officers account of the situation, the city still became a center of unrest because Wallace allegedly suffered from mental illness which is believed by the family to have caused the incident.

Hopefully, in this situation, the city remains calm and does not begin protesting and rioting again in the wake of another officer involved shooting. 

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Family of Philly man shot and killed says officers involved in fatal shooting shouldn’t be charged with murder

October 30, 2020

PHILADELPHIA, PA- The family of the knife-wielding man who was fatally shot by Philadelphia police, which sparked several nights of violent unrest, are now calling for justice to be served, but that they do not want the officers to be charged with murder.

Shaka Johnson, the attorney representing the family of 27-year-old Walter Wallace, Jr., told reporters that the family does not want the officers to be charged with murder. He said that they watched body camera footage of the officers’ October 26th encounter with Wallace and have since released these statements:

“Here’s why, they were improperly trained and did not have the proper equipment by which to effectuate their job.”

He added:

“I saw a person in obvious mental health crisis. My auditory senses heard people shouting, ‘He’s mental, he’s mental.'”

Johnson said that the body camera footage shows Wallace in an “obvious mental crisis.” The footage, which is roughly 30-40 seconds long, shows Wallace emerging from a house with a knife as family members continued to shout about his mental health condition.

According to Johnson, the video shows “instant panic” from officers whose training taught them only how to open fire. He then noted that he saw no viable attempt from officers to de-escalate the situation. Authorities said that Wallace was armed with a knife and charged at the officers, which prompted them to discharge their duty weapons.

District Attorney Larry Krasner and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a joint statement that they are resolving certain matters with the Wallace family and hope to release the 911 audio files as well as additional body camera footage once those matters are taken care of.

Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President John McNesby said that a cell phone video of the incident showed Wallace lunging at the officers with the knife just before the fatal shooting. He said:

“I mean, there’s not much to this. Wallace had a knife, he was lunging at the officers and, unfortunately they had to fire.”

McNesby has yet to view the body camera footage, which Johnson claims does not show Wallace armed with a knife and lunging at police.

However, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said that it is extremely important for Wallace’s family to see the evidence, including body camera footage before it would be released to the public. Outlaw said:

“I have every intention of being transparent and releasing the footage. I think the footage can speak for itself.”

Cell phone video captured Wallace’s interaction with officers before he was fatally shot. The video does not make it clear whether he was in fact holding a knife, however, witnesses and the family attorney confirm that he was. 

Outlaw said that neither officer had a Taser or similar advice at the time of the shooting, noting that the department had previously asked for funding to equip more officers with those devices. Johnson said that the city has failed the Wallace family, the community, and its police officers. He said:

“The city has failed, not only the Wallace family, not only the other members of that community, who will be scarred and traumatized for the remainder of their days, but the city has also failed those police officers, it failed them tremendously.”

He continued:

“The only remedy the police had, int hat moment, per their thinking, was their service weapon. There was no less lethal action available and that has been our way cry ever since Tuesday.”

The same day Johnson held the press conference, Philadelphia city council voted to ban police use of less-lethal weapons including tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets.  The bill now moves forward to mayor Kenny to sign into law.

Wallace’s killing spawned nights of unrest in the city of Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania National Guard have arrived in Philadelphia to work with local agencies to identify the greatest need.

 

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