The White House is offering federal aid to Philadelphia authorities in the wake of two days’ worth of tense protesting over the Monday shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr.
Hundreds of people gathered in Philadelphia Monday and Tuesday nights after Wallace, 27, was shot for advancing toward police and ignoring their orders to drop a knife, according to police. At least 14 shots were fired, but it’s unclear how many hit Wallace.
Through their lawyer, Wallace’s parents said they knew he was suffering a mental health crisis and wanted an ambulance to respond to their home Monday, not police. Wallace’s wife, Dominique Wallace, is pregnant and scheduled to be induced Wednesday, the family’s attorney said. The 27-year-old’s family said he has nine other children.
“When you come to a scene where somebody is in a mental crisis, and the only tool you have to deal with it is a gun … where are the proper tools for the job?” attorney Shaka Johnson said.
About 500 people marched to a West Philadelphia police station Tuesday, where some threw debris at officers armed with riot shields. Two officers were injured during the confrontation.
More than 90 people were arrested the previous night, police said. Thirty officers were injured, many by flying debris such as bricks.
“The riots in Philadelphia are the most recent consequence of the Liberal Democrats’ war against the police,” the White House said in a Wednesday statement. “Law enforcement is an incredibly dangerous occupation, and thousands of officers have given their lives in the line of duty. All lethal force incidents must be fully investigated.”
The officers involved in Wallace’s death were taken off street duty pending an investigation. Their names and other identifying information is being withheld for the time being out of safety concerns.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said neither of the two officers involved had a Taser or similar device at the time of the shooting. The department previously requested funding to equip officers with these devices, Outlaw said.
Local and state officials said the National Guard is expected to arrive in Philadelphia in the next few days to guard infrastructure. The White House said “all federal resources” are available upon request to quell the tensions.
“The facts must be followed wherever they lead to ensure fair and just results. In America, we resolve conflicts through the courts and the justice system. We can never allow mob rule,” the statement said. “The Trump Administration stands proudly with law enforcement, and stands ready, upon request, to deploy any and all Federal resources to end these riots.”
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