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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Philadelphia police release bodycam footage of Walter Wallace Jr. shooting

The victim received mental health care at a crisis center three days before he was killed. 

The Philadelphia Police Department has released the 911 calls and bodycam footage showing the fatal encounter with 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr..

As theGrio previously reported, law enforcement had responded to three disturbance calls from Wallace Jr.’s home and the last visit on Oct. 26 resulted in him being fatally shot.

He died after two police officers claimed he “advanced” on them with a knife, and they shot Wallace Jr. “several times.” He later died at the hospital.

Read More: Walter Wallace Jr. received mental health care days before shooting

In a press conference on Wednesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said police video of the incident “may be intense and traumatic for many people to watch.”

“With this release, the world will see we are engaging in an open process, a process that acknowledges the harm our actions have caused,” he added. “We will learn from our failings and we will do better.”

The officers involved in the shooting have been identified as Sean Matarazzo, 25, who has worked for the department since 2018, and Thomas Munz, 26, who joined the force in 2017, per Buzzfeed News

Wallace Jr. received mental health care at a crisis center three days before he was killed by Philadelphia police. 

An earlier report on theGRIO noted that he regularly used the outpatient services at the West Philadelphia Consortium, a mental health crisis response center, and had recently resumed treatment, according to executive director John White, per Inquirer.com

“His mother told me that when he came home Friday and she asked him how it went, he told her that he was doing much better and that we had gotten him ready to start looking for a job,” said White of Wallace Jr.’s last visit to the center. 

But for whatever reason, Wallace became triggered and began to spiral out of control on that fateful night. Family members called 911 requesting medical assistance for him, but instead, police showed up.  

White believes if the family or the police had called a crisis team from the center to the scene, Wallace Jr. might still be alive.

Read More: Walter Wallace Jr.’s family does not want officers charged, lawyer says

The bodycam footage supports previously released cellphone videos showing Wallace exiting the house holding a knife. The officers demand that he drop the weapon before one cop yells “shoot him.” Several shots are fired and Wallace collapses. 

“The ambulance never made it,” said attorney Shaka Johnson at a press conference shortly after his death. “[Officers] didn’t have the training and the tools to do the job effectively and, as such, a man was murdered.”

Release of the bodycam footage reportedly marks the first time the Philadelphia Police Department has publicly made available video of a police shooting. 

“What you will not see…and mark my words on this, you will not see a man with a knife lunging at police,” Johnson said of the video. 

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The post Philadelphia police release bodycam footage of Walter Wallace Jr. shooting appeared first on TheGrio.



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