Thoughts On The Walter Wallace Police Shooting

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

 

Philadelphia is dealing with civil unrest following the police shooting of Walter Wallace, a 27-year-old black man. Many are claiming that Wallace’s death was not justified and that the shooting was racially-motivated. While all the details have not yet surfaced, the footage showing the incident reveals at least some of the story. 

The shooting reportedly occurred on Locust Street after 4pm on Monday when officers were called to a home for a man holding a weapon. “They were immediately met with a male who was carrying a knife. Several times they asked the male to drop the knife. They ordered him to drop the knife and he continued to follow them around several vehicles that are over there,” Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Gripp told Fox News.

The footage shows Wallace’s mother chasing after her son, attempting to defuse the situation and asking the officers not to shoot. It also shows the two officers repeatedly telling the man to drop the knife. As Wallace walks around the car, he begins approaching the officer, raising his hand. The officers then opened fire. 

Warning: This footage contains disturbing content

 

 

The officers shot Wallace in the shoulder and chest and one of them put him in a police vehicle and took him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after. “All I hear is don’t shoot. Don’t shoot. They didn’t have to shoot. They could have hit him with a taser,” Wallace’s relative Rodney Everett said.

According to Philadephia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told Fox that the officers did not carry tasers. Shaka Johnson, an attorney representing Wallace’s family, told Fox 29 that the man had been experiencing mental health issues. He indicated that the officers were notified that Wallace was dealing with a mental health crisis. The attorney also mentioned that the family had called for an ambulance and are unsure why law enforcement arrived. 

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney stated that he spoke with the family on Monday night and that there will be a full investigation into the incident. “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,” he said. 

Both of the officers were wearing body armor and bodycams at the time of the incident. The bodycam footage has not yet been released. 

Violent rioters and looters took to the streets on Monday night to protest the officer’s handling of the situation. Demonstrators injured 30 police officers and vandalized and looted businesses. Law enforcement arrested dozens of people involved in the riots.

There are plenty of instances involving police brutality that are worthy of outrage. However, this particular story is much different from that of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, or Atatiana Jefferson. 

The footage shows that the officers continually told Wallace to drop his knife. During the entire encounter, they can be seen backing up. But when Wallace began to get closer while carrying the knife, they had no choice but to fire their weapons or risk being stabbed. 

It is a tragic situation, for sure. If Wallace had mental health problems, they likely drove him to act in an aggressive manner. Unfortunately, police officers are not equipped to handle situations that involve mental illness as they are not given extensive training in dealing with these scenarios. 

Some have suggested ideas like having mental health professionals accompany officers on these types of calls. It’s a suggestion worth trying, but so far we don’t have any data that could demonstrate its level of efficacy. 

Like Wallace’s father, others argued that the officers should have used tasers, or other non-lethal means. But procedures regarding the use of these tools is a bit more nuanced than most realize. 

Nonetheless, the left is using this incident like they use all of the others. Democratic politicians and their close friends and allies in the corporate media are inciting racial tensions and anti-police sentiment as part of their effort to destroy race relations in America. Unfortunately, they dominate the conversation and set the narrative because nobody else will offer an effective challenge to their warped ideas on police conduct and race. 

 

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Follow me on Twitter: @JeffOnTheRight