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ACLU Statement on the Death of Walter Wallace Jr


PHILADELPHIA PA (October 31, 2020)-- - On Monday afternoon, (October, 26, 2020) city police officers shot and killed 27-year-old Walter Wallace, Jr., in a West Philadelphia neighborhood. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania issued a statement in response to Mr. Wallace’s death. The following can be attributed to Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:

“This city is overdue for a reckoning with the brazenly violent and abusive behavior in its police department. The Philadelphia police have a long history of brutality against city residents, particularly against Black Philadelphians. In the days ahead, we expect full transparency from Commissioner Outlaw, the Kenney administration, and District Attorney Krasner’s office about this tragedy. While witnesses have stated that Mr. Wallace was armed with a knife, video from the incident suggests that no one was in immediate danger when officers killed him.

“State violence cannot be the answer to societal problems that deserve a fairer, more thoughtful, and more compassionate approach. That’s why, in Philadelphia and around the country, it is time to divest in police and invest in community programs, including the kind of mental health services that allow intervention that may have prevented Mr. Wallace’s killing. In 25-50 percent of cases in which a person is killed by a police officer, the victim was in the midst of a mental health crisis. There is a better way to handle these incidents. But instead, yet again, we see police officers fail the people they are sworn to protect. Again and again, their answer is violence and death.

“Our hearts are with Walter Wallace’s parents and everyone who loved him.

“Black lives matter.”

According to ,30 Philadelphia police officers were injured Monday night following the shooting and death of Wallace in West Philadelphia. Police say Wallace was carrying a knife, and officers ordered him to drop it multiple times. Police said Wallace did not comply with those orders and followed the officers around the street with the knife in hand. 

Nearly  40 arrests were made in connection with looting and vandalism across the city. Police cars and dumpsters were set on fire as police struggled to contain the crowds. Local businesses were among the stores looted and additional police and fire vehicles were among the property vandalized.

More than a dozen officers, many with batons in hand, formed a line as they ran down 52nd Street chasing protesters away from the main thoroughfare. The crowd largely dispersed then.