On the same day Walter Wallace Jr.’s family made funeral arrangements for their son whom police fatally shot Monday afternoon, they received body camera footage of their loved one’s final moments.
The footage, according to family attorney Shaka Johnson, shows a man greeting officers in a “cloud.”
“You will see a person walking around not even speaking,” said Johnson on Thursday, alluding to the mental state of the 27-year-old newlywed and father. He had been taking lithium, a mood stabilizer used to treat bipolar disorder, according to the attorney.
And officers quickly resorted to pulling their guns, per Johnson.
The Philadelphia Police Department has said the officers involved were not equipped with Tasers. Johnson did not refute that but said the video shows responding officers did not try any alternate means of diffusing the situation.
“What you will hear from one of the officers is ‘shoot him,'” said Johnson, who said the family did not want the officers to be charged with murder but could be expected to file a wrongful death suit.
Mayor Jim Kenney and District Attorney Larry Krasner, later Thursday night, said they are working closely with Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw to determine when to release the bodycam video as well as the 911 calls related to Wallace’s death.
They expect both to be released by the end of next week, after “certain matters are resolved in close consultation with Mr. Wallace’s family and their legal counsel.”
From the start, officer response has come under fire because of the number of times officers shot Wallace – 14 times total. It’s unclear how many wounds Wallace suffered but Johnson said the number of bullets fired suggests a deadly intent.
“What other than death did you intend when you shoot a man, each officer, seven times a piece?” asked the attorney, speaking in front of City Hall Thursday.
The family has said police interacted with Wallace on three occasions the day of his fatal shooting. Police said officers went to the home twice earlier in the day for domestic disturbances before a third call was made about a man armed with a knife.
The first two times, the family had not called 911. But that third call was made by Wallace’s brother though it’s unclear if it was for Wallace or his parents who are dealing with “health issues.” Johnson said the family called for the “whole buffet” of services, including medics and the police.
The attorney described a state of domestic unrest and said the family wants to see every Philadelphia police officer trained and prepared to respond to calls like that without a gun.
“No one else who is suffering from a mental health crisis should be met by ill-trained, ill-prepared and ill-equipped police officers.”
De-escalation, he said,” is not shouting ‘drop the knife, drop the knife,'” and then shooting someone who is in a mental crisis.
Wallace is described as a loving father who loved to spend time with his children. He would have welcomed his ninth child into the world, who was born on Wednesday.
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