Matt Slocum / AP
The family of Walter Wallace Jr. are seeking justice, but they are not advocating that officers murdered the 27-year-old Black man charged with murder.
The family, including Wallace’s mother and wife, who were at the murder scene, privately reviewed police camera footage of the deadly shooting early Thursday morning .
According to their lawyer, Shaka Johnson, a short 30 to 40 second video showed the systematic failures of the Philadelphia Police Department, who equipped officers with “a tool to assassinate”. for a less lethal device like the Taser.
When asked why the family, who had yet to bury Wallace, did not want to prosecute the murder against two officers who shot him seven times each on Monday, Johnson replied, “This is why : they are improperly trained and do not have the proper equipment to do their job. ”
Shaka Johnson, the family’s lawyer for #WalterWallace Jr, says he doesn’t think the family wants the officers who killed their son charged with murder because they were “improperly trained and without the equipment. appropriate “pic.twitter.com / dyGxWLoQQ4
– philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) October 29, 2020
Johnson, however, notes that the family is not required to pursue the allegations. That is up to County Attorney Larry Krasner. The family intends to file a false lawsuit.
The attorney described Wallace’s final moments when they were captured in body cam footage, saying the police didn’t try to diffuse the chaos when they arrived. On the contrary, he said, it was clear the officers intended to kill the mentally unstable man.
According to the family, they called 911 to summon an ambulance that could help reassure Wallace that was going through a psychological episode. But instead of healthcare professionals trained to handle such situations, two officers showed up. Wallace was slipping through traffic and holding a knife.
Johnson said he looked like someone who was in a “clear mental health crisis.”
“You’ll see someone walking around not even talking,” Johnson said, remarking that it looked as if Wallace was “in the clouds.”
Wallace’s family said Wallace was taking lithium, a mood stabilizing drug used to treat bipolar disorder.
The video recorded the sound of one officer telling the other to “shoot him” before the two opened fire, Johnson said. Wallace was about a car and a half away, he added at the time.
Johnson also claimed the video showed Wallace lost his ability to work after the first shot.
“I understand he has a knife … and I think that doesn’t give you a chance to execute a man,” he said.
The officers involved in the shooting claimed Wallace had come toward them with the knife but the family disputed the account. Several videos recorded by eyewitnesses show at least one officer yelling at Wallace to put down his weapon.
But getting it right, says Johnson, involves more than shouting, “drop the knife, throw the knife.”
The names of the officers have yet to be revealed. Both have been suspended from patrol and are still on duty.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw pledged to release the audio and video tapes.
I am in discussions with @PPDCommish and @DA_LarryKrasner on when to release the wearable camera footage and 911 audio. We expect to happen next weekend after some issues are resolved with Wallace family and their legal advisor. https://t.co/XuXt84JQEX
– Jim #MaskUpPHL Kenney (@PhillyMayor) October 30, 2020
Mayor Jim Kenney and Attorney Larry Krasner released a joint statement on Thursday night stating that the 911 video and audio file will be released next weekend.
“The authorities and District Attorney are expecting BWC footage and 911 audio files to be released next weekend after some issues are resolved in close consultation with Wallace’s family and counselor. their legal status, “the statement said.