Philadelphia, PA (October 28,2020) – Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District) today issued the following statement in response to the shooting death of Walter Wallace, Jr. Johnson is Chairman of City Council’s Special Committee on Gun Violence Prevention and Vice-Chairman of Council’s Public Safety Committee, which oversees the city’s Public Safety agencies including the Philadelphia Police Department:
“The Philadelphia police shooting and killing of Walter Wallace Jr. of West Philadelphia on Monday, October 26 was a totally unfortunate and unacceptable situation. My heart goes out to the entire family and Mr. Wallace’s mother, who is seen in videos trying to de-escalate the incident with Police only to see her son killed in front of her on the street. The role of any Police officer should be to first try as much as possible to deescalate any situation so that no one gets hurt or killed.
“I have faith that that Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney are committed to conducting a thorough and transparent investigation to determine if the level of force that was used was necessary in this situation. It will be up to Commissioner Outlaw and D.A. Krasner to determine if any disciplinary actions, or possible criminal charges, should be filed against the officers involved in the shooting.
“All Philadelphians and the nation are watching this investigation.
“I understand the anger and rage that happened in West Philadelphia this week. It has been a rage that has been felt around the nation in communities of color for decades that here is yet another police-involved shooting that has claimed the life of a man or woman.
“This latest incident shows the urgent need in Philadelphia to reform our Police Department by increasing de-escalation training for officers. The Police Department previously announced the launch of a new co-responder system where mental health professionals go out with cops for 911 calls involving mental health, but we need to have an accelerated rollout of the program. It is critical that mental health workers function in partnership with Police on a consistent basis in responding to citizens with a mental health crisis.
“While the investigation is taking place, what must happen now in West Philadelphia and around our city is the need for healing. I would call for people to engage in peaceful protests and to vote on November 3 to hold elected officials accountable on the issue of police reform, institutional and systemic racism and poverty. Tearing down and vandalizing stores in Philadelphia neighborhoods is not helpful to citizens in the short and long term.”
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