Walter Wallace shooting death: Philly police to increase presence amid civil unrest, no Philadelphia curfew announced
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — The Philadelphia Police Department will increase its presence across the city Tuesday in anticipation of further displays of civil unrest in response to the shooting death of Walter Wallace.
“For today and this evening, we anticipate the chance of additional incidents of civil unrests and, as such, we will be taking additional steps to ensure order,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said during an afternoon press conference along with Mayor Jim Kenney and city officials.
Outlaw said officers will be sent to key locations as part of additional steps to quell any chance of a repeat of the violent incidents that occurred Monday night which included looting, burglary, and assaults.
Outlaw said they will ask for assistance from surrounding counties and state agencies.
There was no mention of any curfew in Philadelphia for Tuesday night.
Twenty-seven-year-old Walter Wallace was shot and killed after two officers opened fire on the 6100 block of West Philadelphia around 3:50 p.m. Monday. Police said Wallace was wielding a knife and did not listen to their commands to drop his weapon.
Video of the incident was recorded by bystanders and showed Wallace walking towards the officers as they had their guns aimed at him.
“Everyone involved, including the officers, will be impacted by this tragedy,” Outlaw said.
Following the fatal shooting, police said protesters began peaceful demonstrations at Malcom X Park. However, Outlaw said criminal activity, which was not part of the protest, took place across the city including near the 18th District headquarters at 55th and Pine Streets.
Officers could be seen setting up a perimeter around the 18th district police station Monday night.
Dumpsters and at least one police patrol car were set on fire as authorities struggled to contain the crowds. 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 Action Cam captured video of broken windows and vandalized vehicles along 52nd and Pine streets. The group is also believed to be responsible for broken windows at a number of buildings in University City, including a police station and a Starbucks.
Outlaw said eight police vehicles were damaged. A fire department medic vehicle had its windshield smashed, as well.
Thirty officers were injured during the overnight incidents. Outlaw said 29 were treated at the hospital for various cuts and bruises after being struck by projectiles including rocks, bricks, and other debris.
Outlaw said a 56-year-old police sergeant suffered a broken leg after being intentionally run over by a pickup truck around 12:45 a.m. Tuesday at 52nd and Walnut streets. The sergeant remains hospitalized in stable condition.
Chopper 6 was over the scene early Tuesday morning as people could be seen looting a Foot Locker store.
In total, 76 people were arrested for burglary including three with guns, 11 were arrested for assaulting police officers, and three were arrested for failure to disperse. There are still several ongoing investigations not included in the numbers, Outlaw said.
Authorities said the two police officers were called to Locust Street on Monday afternoon for the report of a domestic incident involving a person with a knife.
Police said, once on the scene, the officers were confronted by a man with a knife, later identified as Wallace.
Witnesses said Wallace’s mother was out on the street as well trying to calm her son down.
Police said Wallace was not adhering to the officers’ calls to drop the knife.
The video recorded by witnesses showed the two officers pointing their guns at Wallace as he walked in the street and around a car.
“Put the knife down, put the knife down,” one officer can be heard saying.
Police said the two officers fired their weapons and struck Wallace multiple times after he would not drop the weapon.
Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Frank Vanore said each officer fired seven rounds, but it’s not yet known at this time how many bullets struck Wallace.
Both officers were wearing body cameras and were taken off street duty pending the investigation.
Commissioner Outlaw said the investigation is still ongoing.
The department is completing a threat assessment on whether to release the names of the officers involved. Outlaw said the names would be released as long as that does not put the officers’ safety at risk.
Outlaw said it has not been determined when or if the officers’ bodycam footage will be released.