‘Shoot Him!’: Newly Released Body Camera Footage Shows Two Angles of Philadelphia Police Fatally Shooting Walter Wallace

On Wednesday, the city of Philadelphia released body camera footage of the October police-involved shooting that left a mentally ill Black man dead.

Walter Wallace, 27, was gunned down by police in West Philadelphia on Oct. 26 after officers responded to a report of someone with a knife.

Wallace’s family said they had called for an ambulance to get him help amid a mental health crisis, but not for police.

Wallace, a father of nine, suffered from mental health issues and was taking mood stabilizers and lithium prior to his death.

Bodycam footage released by the city shows the moments leading up to Wallace’s death from two separate body cameras affixed to the two officers involved.

Both clips begin as the officers, identified as Sean Matarazzo and Thomas Munz, stand at the bottom of the stairs of the Wallace residence. After Wallace appeared on the steps with a knife in his hand, the officers asked repeatedly for him to drop the weapon. Wallace ignored the requests and walked out into the street in front of the home.

Walter Wallace (above) died on Oct. 26 after he was gunned down by two Philadelphia police officers. (Photo: 6ABC screenshot)

Wallace’s mother, Cathy Wallace, ran after her son. She said later that she was trying to defuse the situation.

During the footage, a woman can be heard saying repeatedly that Wallace is “mental,” as officers continued to instruct him to drop the knife.

In audio captured by the camera on one of the officers, he can be heard saying, “shoot him,” four seconds before multiple shots were fired.

Each officer fired at least seven rounds at Wallace. After he fell to the ground, Cathy Wallace shouted, “You killed my son!”

Shocked and angered residents gathered around Wallace’s body as he lay dying on the ground. Amid the chaos, an officer is heard saying “he was f**king chasing us.”

Police could not say how many times Wallace was struck. He was transported via patrol car to a hospital where he later died.

“We truly believe that this is an important step in our commitment to transparency,” said Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw at a press conference prior to the release of the video.

The release of the footage marks the first time Philadelphia police have ever released body camera video to the public. Only part of the footage was released at the request of the Wallace family, who reviewed the footage last week.

Outlaw said there are several investigations of the shooting incident underway. She previously explained that Matazzaro and Munz were not equipped with Tasers because there are not enough for all officers in the department to have one.

Outlaw also introduced plans for a new program that will improve the way in which mental health crises are handled.

“Under the new program, when behavioral health crisis calls come into dispatch from police radio, embedded clinical staff will work alongside dispatchers to determine the most appropriate response,” Outlaw said.

911 calls released by the city show that several calls were made that day about a domestic situation occurring in the Wallace home. When police arrived in what became the fatal encounter with Wallace, it was the third time officers had been to the residence that day.

First, a neighbor called, saying, “the people next door are fighting,” and asking that police be sent.

According to the call made by Wallace’s sister, Wallace was “hitting my mother and father.” She told the dispatcher Wallace didn’t have a weapon, but that he had a violent criminal record.

“I understand he had a knife, but that does not give you carte blanche to execute a man, quite frankly,” lawyer Shaka Johnson told reporters at a news conference outside Philadelphia City Hall. “What other than death did you intend when you shoot a man — each officer — seven times apiece?”

District Attorney Larry Krasner said an investigation into criminal charges against the offcers remains ongoing but no charges hace been filed yet.

On Wednesday night protesters took to the streets of Philadelphia, chanting, “Long live Walter Wallace,” in response to the release of the footage. His death has reignited criticism about how police respond to mental health crises.

Back to top