Walter Wallace Jr struggled with mental health issues and couldn’t ‘hurt a damn fly,’ family says
Walter Wallace Jr. could have not been a threat to police officers in Philadelphia when he was shot and killed, his family says.
“He can’t hurt a damn fly. He had mental issues,” his father, Walter Wallace Sr., told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Prime Time Tuesday night.
Wallace, a 27-year-old Black man, was shot and killed during a confrontation with police in West Philadelphia Monday after officers responded to a report of a person with a weapon. Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Grippafter told CNN affiliate KYW that officers saw a man with a knife who “was brandishing it, and waving it erratically.”
“It could have been dealt with in a different way. He could have called a superior to handle the situation,” Wallace said.
His family has said he suffered from bipolar disorder and was in crisis during the time of the shooting. Shaka Johnson, an attorney representing the Wallace family, said Wallace’s wife told officers that he was “manic, bipolar” and in crisis.
“Unfortunately, the officers were not equipped with the training or the proper equipment to deal with a person who was experiencing crisis in that moment,” Johnson told CNN. “You don’t deal with crisis with a firearm.”
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Tuesday that the officers involved in the shooting were not equipped with Tasers and every officer in the city is not issued one.
It’s common for officers to respond to domestic disturbances with a gun because it’s “one of the tools that we carry on our tool belt,” she said.
The fatal shooting has sparked consecutive days of protests in Philadelphia, which have turned into violent clashes with police and looting.
Wallace’s father asked protesters to honor his son’s memory and the city they call home.
“I don’t want to leave a bad scar on my son and my family with this looting and chaos stuff,” he told CNN. “So I want my son’s name and everybody to stop this. Give my son a chance. And the family like we’re decent people.”
“Everybody to have respect for our family, to pray for us. Cut it out. The looting is a mindset and it won’t bring my son back. And it won’t, it will escalate things to get worse instead of better,” he added.