Peaceful protests and incidents of looting were reported for the second night on Tuesday in United States’ Philadelphia, a day after the police shot and killed a Black man carrying a knife, reported CNN.
The killing of 27-year old Walter Wallace Jr on Monday night has raised fresh questions on the authorities’ treatment of Black people and of those with mental health problems, reported The Washington Post. Speaking to the newspaper, Wallace’s family has said that he suffered from mental illness and questioned the police for not using non-lethal methods to nab him.
The shooting took place at around 4 pm local time on Monday after the police responded to reports of a man armed with a knife. In a video on social media, the man, who was later identified as Wallace can be seen advancing towards the police at one point. As the camera then points towards the ground, several shots can be heard and Wallace can then be seen lying on the ground.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Eric Gripp told local newspaper Philadelphia Inquirer that the officers had ordered Wallace to drop the weapon, but he “advanced towards the officers”. He said that both officers fired “several times”, following which he fell to the ground and one of the officers took him to a local hospital, where he died. Gripp said investigators are reviewing footage of the incident.
Peaceful protests against the police’s conduct began late on Tuesday afternoon local time, according to The Washington Post. However, incidents of looting and arson followed as the protests turned violent. As of Tuesday afternoon, 91 people have been arrested, reported Philadelphia Inquirer.
Various reports of skirmishes between the police and the demonstrators have emerged. Some videos of the police using batons to control the protestors are also circulating on social media.
According to Philadelphia Inquirer, as of Wednesday morning, police had “continued reporting sporadic incidents but most of the crowds had dispersed”.
Meanwhile in a statement issued on Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris criticised the killing. “We cannot accept that in this country a mental health crisis ends in death,” they said.
On the other hand, President Donald Trump termed the protestors as “Biden-supporting radicals” at a campaign rally in Wisconsin.
Wallace had mental health issues, say family members
Wallace’s father Walter Wallace Sr told Philadelphia Inquirer that his son struggled with mental health problems and was on medication. “He has mental issues,” Wallace said. “Why you have to gun him down? Why didn’t they use a Taser? His mother was trying to defuse the situation.”
The newspaper also reported that Wallace had his share of problems with law in the past with “judges regularly ordering he receive mental health treatment as he faced charges of trespassing, resisting arrest, robbery and simple assault”.