The city of Philadelphia is still figuratively burning and the rage will not be quelled anytime soon.
Walter Wallace Jr. was killed by Philly cops in front of his mother earlier this week while he was suffering from a mental health crisis. The killing immediately led to protests and uprisings throughout the city but especially in West Philly. The shooting death in itself was bad but the fact that it happened right in front of his pleading mother is beyond heartbreaking.
Catherine Wallace tried her damnedest to keep her son alive and through no fault of her own, was unable to stop officers from riddling his body with bullets. Catherine, Walter Wallace Sr, and Walter Jr.’s cousin Anthony Fitzhugh all spoke to ABC 6 about the incident. Catherine says that not only did the police know that her son was mentally ill (because they made three visits to the house the same day he was killed) but that the family called an AMBULANCE, NOT THE POLICE for professional medical help.
Walter Wallace Sr. also spoke to the news media outside of the family’s home. Earlier in the day, he gave an interview to KYW’s Cherri Gregg telling her, “I don’t want my son to have died in vain like he wasn’t nothing like he didn’t come from a good family.”
Not heartbroken enough? Walter Wallace Jr.’s wife, Dominique Wallace, is pregnant and was scheduled to have labor induced this past Wednesday. She shares, wait for it…nine children with Wallace. The family lawyer Shaka Johnson had this to say:
“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?” 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 ambulance.
NBC News noted that Wallace was an aspiring rapper. In the past, Walter’s episodes could be subdued with the mention of his children or with a song that he liked. He grappled with mental illness and bipolar disorder, which he was looking to seek treatment for as recent as last week, his cousin Anthony Fitzhugh revealed.
“Whenever I’ve been around and he was having an episode, I’ve always been able to say, ‘Little cuz, little cuz, come on,'” Fitzhugh said. “It might take him a second, but if you know the things that will de-escalate, like he loves music, he loves his kids, when you start talking about these kinds of things … sometimes it’s easier to de-escalate whatever he may be going through.”
Rest in peace to Walter Wallace Jr. Prayers up for his grieving and traumatized family. Hell and damnation to the officers who killed him.