Philadelphia police fatally shoot black man Walter Wallace, sparking protests leading to police injuries


Police fatally shot a 27-year-old black man in the United States city of Philadelphia, sparking protests against police brutality that led to dozens of arrests.

The shooting occurred before 4:00pm (local time) on Monday as officers responded to a report of a person with a weapon, police spokesperson Tanya Little said.

Officers were called to the Cobbs Creek neighbourhood where they said they encountered the man, later identified as Walter Wallace, who was reportedly holding a knife.

Video of the fatal confrontation recorded by a bystander and posted on social media shows two police officers pointing their guns at Mr Wallace as he walks in the street and around a car.

He walks toward the officers as they back away from him in the street, guns still trained on him.

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Police said they ordered Mr Wallace to drop the knife. They said he instead “advanced towards” them. Both officers then fired at Mr Wallace “several times,” Ms Little said.

Mr Wallace was shot in the shoulder and chest, and was taken to hospital in a police vehicle, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, Ms Little said.

The incident is the latest police shooting to rock the US and comes months after the death of George Floyd, who died when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, sparking months of protest over the deaths of black Americans at the hands of police officers.

Protesters chant ‘Black Lives Matter’

Police cars and dumpsters were set on fire as police struggled to contain the crowd.(AP: Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer)

After the death of Mr Wallace hundreds of people took to the streets to protest the shooting late on Monday into early Tuesday (local time), with interactions between protesters and police turning violent at times, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Video showed many protesters yelling at officers.

Dozens reportedly gathered at a nearby park where the shooting occurred and chanted: “Black Lives Matter”.

Police cars and dumpsters were set on fire as police struggled to contain the crowds in the streets of Philadelphia.

Mr Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Senior, told the Inquirer that his son was also a father, was on medication and lived with mental health issues.

More than a dozen officers, many with batons in hand, formed a line as they ran down 52nd Street chasing protesters away from the main thoroughfare. The crowd largely dispersed then.

According to police, 30 officers were injured in the protests, most of them from being struck by projectiles such as bricks and rocks.

One officer was hospitalised with a broken leg and other injuries after she was struck by a pick-up truck, police said, while the other injured officers were treated and released.

Police charge at a crowd along 52nd Street in West Philadelphia
The protest towards police brutality led to dozens of arrests.(AP: Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer)

The names of the officers who fired the shots which killed Mr Wallace have not been immediately disclosed.

Both were wearing body cameras and were taken off street duty pending the investigation.

The city’s Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, arrived at the scene a short time after the shooting occurred.

“I heard and felt the anger of the community,” Ms Outlaw said in a statement, adding that the video “raises many questions” and that “those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation”.

AP



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