Walter Wallace: Philadelphia police to release body-cam footage as son blames 'racist white cops' for death

Stuti Mishra
·2-min read
A group of protesters face police barricading the 18th Police Precinct after the city imposed a 9pm curfew in Philadelphia, (AFP via Getty Images)
A group of protesters face police barricading the 18th Police Precinct after the city imposed a 9pm curfew in Philadelphia, (AFP via Getty Images)

The police department of Philadelphia announced on Wednesday that it would release the 911 tapes and body camera footage of the shooting of a Black man, which sparked violent clashes between the police and protesters.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told the media at a press conference that the footage would be released “in the near future” once it has been shared with the family.

The family’s lawyer said earlier that they contacted 911 for an ambulance right before the incident because 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr was going through a mental health crisis.

Wallace was shot dead on Monday night, in an incident which was caught on camera and sparked outrage across the city.

When a TV station reporter in Philadelphia asked Wallace’s 8-year-old son what he would remember about his father, the child replied that “white racist cops” had killed him.

The police allege Wallace had a knife that he refused to drop. According to Philadelphia police spokesperson Tanya Little, Wallace “advanced towards” two police officers, who then fired at him “several times”. Some witnesses have also said that Wallace was carrying a knife, though this isn’t clear from the available video footage.

The police commissioner Ms Outlaw accepted there was an issue with the force lacking a behavioural health unit. She said: “There’s clearly a disconnect on our end in terms of knowing what’s out there” at the scene.

The fatal killing of the young man led to major protests in the city, which soon turned into clashes with police and the looting of a car showroom. More than 90 people have been arrested so far and 50 police officers have been injured, according to the Associated Press. The city administration has announced a curfew to curb the violence.

The US is less than a week away from presidential elections and discussions about racial justice have been at the centre of the campaign debates, amid major protests as part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.