Philadelphia police shot and killed a Black man on Monday afternoon after he allegedly waved a knife while standing on the street.
The shooting sparked protests across the city, which resulted in the injury of at least 30 police officers and 33 arrests.
The incident began when officers responded to a report involving a person with a weapon encountered a man, waving the gun “erractically.” Officers on the scene ordered the man to drop the knife, as his mother pleaded for them not to shoot. When he did not drop the weapon, officers fired several rounds, killing him.
The victim has since been identified as 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr.
Questions are now being raised about why a non-lethal response was not used to detain Wallace.
Walter Wallace Sr. told The Inquirer that his son had struggled with mental health issues and was on medication. “Why didn’t they use a Taser?” he asked. “His mother was trying to defuse the situation.”
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw vowed to investigate the killing, adding that she “felt the anger of the community.”
“I have directed the Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit to begin its investigation,” Outlaw said in a 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.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement: “My prayers are with the family and friends of Walter Wallace. 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.”