Family of Walter Wallace Jr., man shot by Philly police, says he suffered mental break

Maggie Kent Image
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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The family of a man shot by Philadelphia police on Monday says he suffered a mental break and didn't need to die.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The family of a man shot by Philadelphia police on Monday says he suffered a mental break and didn't need to die.

Standing outside their home, the rallying cry "Black Lives Matter" has become a reality for Walter Wallace Jr.'s family.

"You see this happening around the country and I never would think it would hit mine, but it has. And I feel some way," said Wallace's uncle, Rodney Everett.

Right outside the house at 6100 block of Locust Street, 27-year-old Wallace was fatally shot by police Monday afternoon, when investigators say he refused to drop a knife in his hand.

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"What it's telling people is, don't call the cops. If you want your child to live, don't even call the cops," said Everett.

The shooting happened in front of Wallace's mother who was trying to defuse the situation.

Family members also say Wallace's wife, who is to be induced into labor with his daughter on Wednesday, also witnessed the fatal shooting.

"We have to live with the fact you wake up and see this and it's your family member laying down at the ground. You're looking at your family die, being killed," said Everett.

Now lawyers are saying the call made for help was not for police intervention.

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"The folks who called the authorities didn't deem the police necessary, which is why they called and specifically requested an ambulance," said family lawyer, Shaka Johnson.

Police say the initial call came through as a domestic disturbance at the home, reportedly for a man assaulting an elderly woman and another man inside.

Lawyers for the Wallace family say this should have been treated as a medical issue, that Wallace was taking lithium medication for his mental health.

"His wife told them he was manic and bipolar - when the officers were standing at the foot of these steps," said Johnson.

Neighbors and concerned community members asked: was there another less deadly way to defuse this situation?

"I don't think cops should be killing nobody. I think he could have gotten a leg shot, put him down or taze him," Aisha Williams.

Commissioner Danielle Outlaw addressed questions about why tasers may not have been an option.

"Every police officer is not issued a taser at this time. We requested additional funds so we could continue to outfit our officers with tasers," said Commissioner Outlaw.