On Wednesday (Nov. 4), Philadelphia officials released the body cam footage from the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.
According to The New York Times, Wallace, a 27-year-old Black man who suffered from mental illness, was fatally shot by two Philadelphia police officers — Sean Matarazzo and Thomas Munz. In the body cam videos, the officers stood near the house and called out to someone inside. Wallace, who was holding a knife, entered the clip.
The officers drew their guns and ordered him to put the weapon down. A woman could be heard screaming that Wallace is “mental” as the officers pointed their guns at him. When he walked towards the officers, they fired their weapons.
Matarazzo and Munz have been placed on “restrictive duty” while the investigation continues. City officials say they are now creating programs which will help police officers deal with mental health crises — without using violence. Next week, 911 dispatchers will receive training that will help them identify calls related to people in crisis, so they can dispatch specially trained cops.
During Wednesday’s press conference, the city’s mayor, police commissioner and district attorney urged the public not to resort to violence in response to the newly released footage. “We know this moment is incredibly painful, given so many failures over generations to protect all of Philadelphia’s residents, especially those who are Black or brown,” Mayor Jim Kenney said.
Kenney also said that the “very painful” videos “will elicit anger, rage, distress, evoke more questions — and rightfully so.”
District Attorney Larry Krasner called the shooting “a terrible tragedy” and said the officers failed to properly respond to Wallace’s mental health crisis. “Government failed because her son was killed within a minute of government’s arrival,” he said. “As a part of government, I apologize for that.”
WARNING: This video contains graphic violence and a man’s death.