PHILADELPHIA – The body camera video of police officers who fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr. in Philadelphia is expected to be released “by the end of next week,” the office of Mayor Jim Kenney said Thursday night.
“The Mayor, Police Commissioner, and District Attorney are in close communication about the specifics of when and how police body-worn camera footage and 911 audio files in relation to the killing of Walter Wallace Jr., will be released,” the statement read. “The administration and the district attorney expect BWC footage and 911 audio files to be released by the end of next week after certain matters are resolved in close consultation with Mr. Wallace’s family and their legal counsel.”
Wallace, 27, a Black man who was armed with a knife, was fatally shot Monday night by two officers in the West Philadelphia neighborhood. According to family members and their attorney, Wallace was undergoing a mental health crisis on the night he was killed, WCAUreported. Police officers were not equipped with stun guns that night, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said. She added that the department had previously asked for funding to buy the devices, WPVI reported.
More than two dozen police officers were injured during protests in the aftermath of the shooting.
Wallace’s family was allowed to review the video with Outlaw earlier Thursday, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“I have every intention of being transparent and releasing the footage. I think the footage can speak for itself,” Outlaw told reporters.
The Wallace family attorney, Shaka Johnson, said during a Thursday afternoon news conference that the family was not calling for murder charges against the officers, who fired 14 shots.
“And here’s why, here’s why: They were improperly trained and did not have the proper equipment by which to effectuate their job,” Johnson 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.
“The only remedy the police had in that moment, per their thinking, was their service weapon,” Johnson added. “The moment an officer takes their service weapon out of the holster, the situation has escalated. It has escalated. And they teach you that in the academy. There was no attempt, no viable attempt, to de-escalate. De-escalation is not just shouting ‘Drop the knife, drop the knife,’ with your weapon out and pointed. That’s not de-escalation.”
At least 14 shots were fired, police said, with at least seven from each officer, WPVI reported.
“None of the 14 shots were necessary, but if you were going to shoot, the first shot incapacitated the man. There were 13 shots to follow, which is why he is no longer with us,” Johnson told reporters.
While Wallace’s family urged peace in the city, they said they were angry with how the situation was handled.
“I would like to see justice done for what they did to my son. I wouldn’t wish this on no one’s child at all,” Wallace’s mother, Cathy Brant, told reporters. “It just hurts me so bad to see how the people was in the world. I pray things change.”
“This mayor, he’s a coward. Any kind of man for the people, he would come down here,” said Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr. “That ain’t his kid. He don’t got to bury nobody. He don’t know what pain and suffering is.”
Wallace’s funeral is set for Nov. 7 at the Church of Christian Compassion in West Philadelphia, the Inquirer reported.
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