As Philadelphia residents have been taking to the streets nightly to protest the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr., his family is speaking out about the tragic incident.
According to the family’s lawyer, his family called for an ambulance to help him with a mental health crisis but the police showed up instead, NBC Philadelphia reports.
Wallace, a 27-year-old father of nine, was gunned down by officers Monday afternoon in front of his mother. Police demanded he drop a knife he was holding and told his mother to move out of the way before firing on him.
His parents said Tuesday night that officers knew their son was in a mental health crisis because they had been to the family’s house three times that day. “They stood there and laughed at us,” said Walter Wallace Jr.’s mother, Cathy Wallace.
The family, like protesters, want to know why police used lethal force in response to Wallace’s mental health crisis. “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?” the family’s attorney Shaka 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.
Johnson also said that Wallace’s wife, Dominique Wallace, is pregnant and is scheduled to have labor induced Wednesday.
About 500 people had gathered at a West Philadelphia park Tuesday night and marched through the neighborhood. There were reports of arrests in other areas of the city Tuesday night around 9 p.m.
We’ll keep you posted on the protests in Philly and the updates in this case.
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