PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Police Department, at the request of the family of Walter Wallace, Jr., has released body camera footage of Mr. Wallace’s killing at the hands of police on October 26.
The following can be attributed to Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:
“The release of the police body camera footage of police officers killing Walter Wallace, Jr., reinforces what we already know: despite multiple visits to Walter Wallace’s home that day, police officers failed to deescalate what was clearly a mental health crisis. Walter Wallace paid with his life for this failure. And Black and brown people are disproportionately the victims of this unjust, brutal violence by police, while the local head of the police union says they’re just ‘doing their jobs.’
“As elected officials in Philadelphia look to invest in Tasers and additional training as solutions to the epidemic of police violence, these so-called solutions miss the point. Armed agents of the state should not be responding to mental health crises. That’s a job for mental health professionals.
“Any conversation addressing police violence must begin with divestment from police departments and reinvestment in programs and professionals far more equipped to handle a mental health crisis than trigger-happy police officers who, time and again, show their willingness to use deadly force the moment the situation gets difficult. We deserve better from those sworn to ‘serve and protect’ all of us.”