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October 27, 2020

Protests erupt in West Philly after police fatally shoot Black man

'Difficult questions must be answered' as shooting investigation gets underway, Mayor Kenney says

Investigations Shootings
Walter Wallace protest 10_28 was 3 Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Philadelphia police officers stand in a line at 52nd and Chestnut streets during demonstrations Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, following the death of Walter Wallace Jr, who was shot by police a day earlier.

Philadelphia police fatally shot a Black man in West Philly on Monday afternoon, prompting protests, vandalism and looting overnight. 

The protests mostly occurred near the 18th District police precinct at 55th and Pine streets and along the 52nd Street commercial corridor. More than 30 people were arrested and 30 officers were injured, according to 6ABC.

The shooting took place around 4 p.m. on the 6100 block of Locust St.

The victim, 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr., was armed with a knife at the scene, according to the InquirerWallace was ordered by police to drop the weapon, but he did not and advanced toward the cops.

A video of the incident can be seen below. Two police officers are pointing their guns at Wallace as he confronts them in the street. The video cuts away as the gunshots are fired. 

Please note the following video contains graphic images and audio.

Wallace was taken to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he died. His father, Walter Wallace Sr., told the Inquirer that he believed his son was shot 10 times by police.

Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw released statements Monday night saying the shooting is under investigation. They both are expected to meet with the victim's family and community members. 

"My prayers are with the family and friends of Walter Wallace," Kenney said. "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.

"I look forward to a speedy and transparent resolution for the sake of Mr. Wallace, his family, the officers and for Philadelphia." 

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets in protest. 

Protesters threw rocks and bottles at police, vandalized police vehicles, lit dumpsters ablaze and destroyed security cameras. A police vehicle was set on fire. 

An officer was hospitalized after being struck by a pickup truck at 52nd and Walnut streets around 12:45 a.m. She reportedly sustained a broken leg.

Cops armed with riot gear, including shields and batons, attempted to disperse the crowd as the situation worsened. Police began blocking off streets to curtail the protests.

Most demonstrators left the area by the early morning hours on Tuesday. 

Outlaw acknowledged the video of the shooting "raises many questions," that must be addressed by an investigation. 

"While at the scene this evening, I heard and felt the anger of the community," Outlaw said. "Everyone involved will forever be impacted. I will be leaning on what the investigation gleans to answer the many unanswered questions that exist."

District Attorney Larry Krasner urged anyone who witnessed the incident to contact the District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Unit hotline at (215) 686–9608. The Special Investigations Unit is investigating the incident alongside the police department's Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit. 

"We intend to go where the facts and law lead us and to do so carefully, without rushing to judgment and without bias of any kind," Krasner said. "In the hours and days following this shooting, we ask Philadelphians to come together to uphold people’s freedom to express themselves peacefully and to reject violence of any kind."  

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