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Protesters gathered outside a Philadelphia police precinct Monday night hours after police shot and killed a man waving a knife in the afternoon, CBS Philly reports. The victim was identified as 27-year old Walter Wallace Jr.
Tensions rose as the night wore on.
Early Tuesday, a pickup truck driving at a relatively fast clip hit an officer. Video shows a man standing through the roof of the truck’s cab. A bystander can be heard saying, “Oh my god. He hit a cop.”
Philadelphia Police Sergeant Eric Gripp said the officer, a 56-year-old female, was hospitalized in stable condition with a broken leg and other injuries. The pickup was found nearby, unoccupied, he added.
CBS Philly says vandals smashed windows and a glass door and spray-painted walls at a police substation.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, there was vandalism and looting in a commercial corridor where police and demonstrators clashed earlier this summer. At least one police vehicle was set on fire and several officers were hit with bricks or other objects, the newspaper said. Dumpsters were also set ablaze, The Associated Press reports.
It all began when police responded to a call about a man with a weapon around 2:45 p.m., according to CBS Philly.
“Responding officers witnessed a male on the block. Immediately they noticed he had a knife in his possession and he was brandishing it and waiving it erratically,” Gripp said.
Cell phone video shows Wallace walking around a car into the street toward two officers who were backing up as they pointed their guns at him. Then they open fire. Several shots are heard. It isn’t clear from the video what happened immediately prior to the shooting.
Wallace is then seen lying in the street.
The AP quotes police spokesperson Tanya Little as saying the officers ordered Wallace to drop the knife, but he “advanced towards” them instead.
Gripp said one of the officers “scooped up” the knife after the shooting and one of them took Wallace to a hospital, where he died.
Wallace was hit in the shoulder and chest, the AP reports.
One witness, Maurice Holoway, told CBS Philly he and several others tried to get Wallace to drop the knife, to no avail.
Holoway told the station if police felt they had to shoot, they should have hit him in the leg “or not shoot him at all.”
Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., told the Inquirer it appeared his son was shot 10 times.
“Why didn’t they use a Taser?” the newspaper quotes him as asking. “His mother was trying to defuse the situation.”
He said his son had mental health issues and was on medication. “Why you have to gun him down?”
Both officers were taken off street duty pending an investigation, the Inquirer said. Their names weren’t released.
Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement that there would be “a full investigation. I look forward to a speedy and transparent resolution for the sake of Mr. Wallace, his family, the officers, and for Philadelphia.”
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a separate statement, “I recognize that the video of the incident raises many questions. Residents have my assurance that those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation.”
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 President John McNesby asked everyone to “wait for the investigation to complete and not to meetly vilify the police department.”
But Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said Philadelphia “is overdue for a reckoning with the brazenly violent and abusive behavior in its police department. … Video from the incident suggests that no one was in immediate danger when officers killed him.” Shuford called for full transparency by city officials.
Noted civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump asserted that police “made NO attempts at deescalating the situation in this video. They just went straight to killing Wallace in front of his loved ones!”
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