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‘Why You Have to Gun Him Down?’: Protests Erupt After a Mentally Ill Black Man Is Killed By Philadelphia Police In Front of His Mother

Protests erupted in Philadelphia Monday night after a 27-year-old Black man was shot and killed by the police.

The deceased man, identified as Walter Wallace, was killed around 4 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 26, in West Philadelphia, according to WPVI-TV. A video of the last moments of Wallace’s life was circulated on social media as news of his death spread.

The footage shows Wallace pacing around a street as two Philadelphia Police Department officers point their service weapons at him. A woman, later identified as his mother, followed him as he walked around. Wallace was reportedly armed with a knife and the officers repeatedly told him to “drop the knife.” The officers also demanded Wallace’s mother move out of the way.

When she finally moved, the camera panned down before at least nine shots rang out. When the camera regained its position, Wallace was lying on the pavement. Wallace’s mother screamed and ran over to her dying son. Wallace was eventually taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Walter Wallace Sr., his father, believes the younger Wallace’s death could have been prevented.

“Why didn’t they use a Taser?” he asked during an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer. “His mother was trying to defuse the situation.”

Wallace Sr. also revealed his son lived with from mental health challenges.

“He has mental issues,” Wallace said. “Why you have to gun him down?”

The two officers involved in the shooting have not been identified and they were removed from street duty. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the shooting will be investigated by the department’s Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit. She also visited the scene where she spoke with angry residents.

“I recognize that the video of the incident raises many questions. Residents have my assurance that those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation. While at the scene this evening, I heard and felt the anger of the community,” Outlaw said in a statement.

“Everyone involved will forever be impacted. I will be leaning on what the investigation gleans to answer the many unanswered questions that exist,” the statement continued. “I also plan to join the Mayor in meeting with members of the community and members of Mr. Wallace’s family to hear their concerns as soon as it can be scheduled.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said his prayers “are with the family and friends of Walter Wallace.”

“I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered,” the mayor added in a statement. “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.”

Wallace’s death also sparked protests across West Philadelphia, according to CNN. At least 30 officers were injured on Monday night, including one who was hit by a pickup truck. The rest of the officers sustained minor injuries from projectiles. At least 10 people were arrested.

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