Full-body camera video released by Philadelphia police on Wednesday shows moments leading up to the shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.’s death. and its emotional consequences.
Wallace, 27, was shot on October 26 after police answered a call about a man armed with a knife, police said at the time. Wallace’s family has previously said that he struggled with mental health issues, including bipolar disorder, and they called 911 to ask for an ambulance in the hope he would be intervened. medical.
At a press conference on Wednesday before the release of body camera video and 911 call audio, city officials warned that documents were disturbing and said families had been consulted in advance. when released.
“The footage contains violent images and graphics and can be very intense and hurt some viewers,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “But more transparency … is needed to make meaningful changes in our city and to keep our offices, agencies, and divisions accountable.”
Both the audio and video released Wednesday were edited by the Philadelphia Police Department and approved by the Wallace family.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said this was the first time the department had made public a video of a policeman wearing bodywear that was involved in the shooting. She also announced planned reforms regarding mental health calls, in partnership with the city’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services.
The reforms included expanded crisis intervention training for 911 dispatchers and de-escalation training for officers, the officials said. The department is also working to expand the availability of the Taser stun device, which the officers who answered Wallace’s call do not have.
Police ordered Wallace “several times” to drop the knife, but he continued to “walk towards” them, police said last month. They then opened fire “multiple times”, shot him in the chest and shoulder, and he was declared dead at the hospital just after 4:00 pm, police said.
Police released audio on Wednesday of three 911 calls – from a neighbor, Wallace’s sister and an unidentified man – made at around 3:45 pm on October 26. The neighbor asked the police for assistance, saying that a man beside him was fighting with his mother.
The second call began with Wallace’s sister asking the police, saying her mother and father had been beaten by her brother. The dispatcher asked if her brother had a weapon.
“No, but he’s on probation and everything,” said the woman. “He got a lawsuit for violence and everything. He has all the files.”
When asked if she needed an ambulance, the woman said that her mother’s blood pressure increased and her father felt faint. In the video released by the police, there is no mention of Wallace mentally ill or not.
During the third 911 call, it seemed a man pleaded for his mother’s help, but with other chattering and debates in the background.
Body camera video is taken outside a mansion and appears to show Wallace leaving with something in hand. It’s not clear what happened before the video started.
An officer yelled at Wallace to “put the knife down now.”
“No, no, he was psychotic,” shouted one woman.
Wallace begins to walk the streets with what appears to be a knife. Employees are on opposite sides of the block, based on angles from their cameras. Wallace’s mother runs into the street to try to help her son, but he pushes her aside.
Another man also tried to stop Wallace when the police asked him to “put the knife down”. Wallace was alone in the street when the policemen started shooting and he fell to the ground.
At one point in the video, a man can be heard saying: “Shoot him”.
After Wallace fell, his mother rushed over, yelled at the officers and was about to throw something at them.
“You killed my son,” she shouted.
Another woman yelled at officers that she told them “he was mentally ill.”
The two turn to care for Wallace, and an officer leaves after his partner tells him to bring a patrol car around to put Wallace inside and take him to the hospital. The video ends there.
An attorney for the Wallace family was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday night.
Wallace’s death sparked fiery protests in Philadelphia, with members of the state’s National Guard deployed and curfewed to prevent violence and looting.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Special Investigation Unit and the Philadelphia Police Department official involved in the shooting of the shootings are investigating Wallace’s shooting. Officers, identified Wednesday as Sean Matterazzo and Thomas Munz, were provided with representation by their union.
The officers said the officers have been given limited duty pending an investigation.
John McNesby, president of Philadelphia’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5, said the union had been calling for the release of video and audio since the day after the shooting. He protects officers, whom he says are “vilified for doing their jobs.”
Eight days later, city officials held an hour-long press conference blaming these officers for the incident that they were forced to make a decision, McNesby said. “This is baseless and is not supported by the truth.”