Citywide curfew set in Philadelphia after protests over police killing

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PHILADELPHIA (NewsNation Now) — The Philadelphia mayor’s office issued a curfew Wednesday after two nights of protests following the police shooting involving a 27-year-old Black man.

The citywide curfew which will go into effect starting Wednesday, October 28 at 9:00 p.m. through 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 29.  According to the city guidelines, grocery stores, restaurants and pharmacies can choose to operate only for delivery services later than 9:00 p.m. and “should implement appropriate measures to secure their facilities and protect onsite and delivery employees.”

Philadelphia police shot and killed Walter Wallace on a Philadelphia street Monday after yelling at him to drop his knife, sparking violent unrest that police said injured 30 officers and led to dozens of arrests. 32 people were arrested during a protest in New York City over the police shooting of a Black man in Philadelphia, police said Wednesday.

Overnight protesters in Brooklyn, New York broke store windows, set fires and vandalized police cars during the chaos at about 10 p.m. Tuesday, police said. Videos posted on social media show officers surrounding a car and trying to stop it. The car kept going, driving slowly through a line of officers on bicycles.

A New York Police Department spokesperson said five officers suffered minor injuries and nine police vehicles were vandalized. The spokesperson said 32 people were arrested. He did not know what charges they faced.

A customer is seen behind broken glass at a Chase ATM, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, on Court Street in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York. Demonstrators protesting the police shooting of a Black man in Philadelphia broke store windows, set fires and vandalized police cars in Brooklyn Tuesday night, police said. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Wallace’s parents said Tuesday night that officers knew their son was in a mental health crisis because they had been to the family’s home three times on Monday.

Catherine Wallace, his mother, said one of the times, “they stood there and laughed at us.”

The Wallace family’s attorney, Shaka Johnson, said the man’s wife, Dominique Wallace, is pregnant and is scheduled to have labor induced Wednesday. Two of Wallace’s nine children briefly spoke at a news conference late Tuesday, along with Walter Wallace’s mother and father.

“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?” Johnson said, arguing that Philadelphia police officers are not properly trained to handle mental health crises.

Johnson said Wallace’s brother had called 911 to request medical assistance and an ambulance.

Philadelphia officials had anticipated a second night of unrest Tuesday, after Philadelphia police arrested more than 90 people during protests and unrest that began Monday and spread into the early morning hours of Tuesday, sometimes turning into violent confrontations with police.

Police leaders answered few questions Tuesday about what led to the death of Wallace under more than a dozen rounds fired by two Philadelphia officers who say he refused calls to put down a knife in a confrontation that led to unrest in the predominantly Black neighborhood. The officers have not been identified as of Wednesday morning.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw deferred many questions at a news conference about events before Monday afternoon’s shooting, including what officers knew when they responded to the call, whether or how many times they had interacted with Wallace before, and whether any information had been given to officers about mental health concerns.

Chief Inspector Frank Vanore said he could confirm that police received a call about a man screaming and that he was armed with a knife. The two officers each fired at least seven rounds — at least 14 total shots — but could not say how many times Wallace was struck.

The officers had not been interviewed as of Tuesday afternoon, Outlaw said. Neither officer had a Taser or similar device, with Outlaw saying the department has previously asked for funding to equip more officers with those devices.

Police arrested at least 91 people during the unrest Monday night and Tuesday morning, with three people being cited for failing to disperse and about a dozen being charged with assault of an officer.

Outlaw and Mayor Jim Kenney issued the following statements on the fatal police-involved shooting that occurred in West Philadelphia. According to the statement, “the incident remains under investigation. While the investigation moves forward, the Mayor and Commissioner will schedule a meeting with members of the community near the incident. The City will ensure that any necessary behavioral health supports are available to the community.”

“My prayers are with the family and friends of Walter Wallace. I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered. I spoke tonight with Mr. Wallace’s family, and will continue to reach out to hear their concerns first-hand, and to answer their questions to the extent that I am able. The Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit of PPD will conduct a full investigation. I look forward to a speedy and transparent resolution for the sake of Mr. Wallace, his family, the officers, and for Philadelphia.”

MAYOR JIM KENNEY

“I have directed the Officer Involved Shooting Investigation Unit to begin its investigation. I recognize that the video of the incident raises many questions. Residents have my assurance that those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation. While at the scene this evening, I heard and felt the anger of the community. Everyone involved will forever be impacted. I will be leaning on what the investigation gleans to answer the many unanswered questions that exist. I also plan to join the Mayor in meeting with members of the community and members of Mr. Wallace’s family to hear their concerns as soon as it can be scheduled.”

COMMISSIONER DANIELLE OUTLAW

Prior to Tuesday afternoon’s press conference with police officials, police spokesperson Tanya Little described the incident, explaining officers were called to the Cobbs Creek neighborhood and encountered the man, later identified as Walter Wallace, who was holding a knife.

Officers ordered Wallace to drop the knife, but he instead “advanced towards” them. Both officers then fired “several times,” Little said.

Wallace was hit in the shoulder and chest. One of the officers then put him in a police vehicle and drove him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, Little said.

Video of the fatal confrontation recorded by a bystander and posted on social media shows officers pointing their guns at Wallace as he walks in the street and around a car. He walks toward the officers as they back away from him in the street, guns still aimed at him. They yell at him to put his knife down.

Both then fire several shots and Wallace collapses in the street. A woman runs up to him screaming. Several bystanders then approach him.

It is unclear in the video if he had a knife. Witnesses said he was holding one.

No officers or bystanders were injured, Little said. The names of the officers who fired the shots were not disclosed. Both were wearing body cameras and were taken off street duty pending the investigation.

Some people spoke with city Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, who arrived at the scene a short time after the shooting occurred.

“I heard and felt the anger of the community,” Outlaw said in a statement, adding that the video “raises many questions” and that “those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation.”

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