Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his vice presidential running mate Kamala Harris issued a statement Tuesday expressing their heartbreak over the death of Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man who was shot dead by Philadelphia police.
Biden and Harris called for “real police reform” in the aftermath of “another Black life in America lost” and acknowledged the suffering borne by a “community that has already endured so much trauma.”
They also criticized the violence that’s been reported — including attacks on police and the vandalism of local businesses — amid the protests sparked by Wallace’s death.
Statement from @JoeBiden@KamalaHarris: "Our hearts are broken for the family of Walter Wallace Jr., and for all those suffering the emotional weight of learning about another Black life in America lost. We cannot accept that in this country a mental health crisis ends in death." pic.twitter.com/GA80TJIRma
— Johnny Verhovek (@JTHVerhovek) October 27, 2020
Wallace, 27, was killed by police on Monday afternoon. Footage of the fatal encounter shared on social media shows Wallace walking toward two police officers as a woman ― identified by The Washington Post as his mother ― attempts to hold him back.
Police said Wallace had been holding a knife at the time, and the officers can be heard in the video shouting at the man to put the weapon down. Moments later, as the camera points down to the ground, multiple shots can be heard.
Shaka Johnson, a lawyer representing Wallace’s family, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Wallace’s family had called 911 to help with what they described as a mental health crisis.
Johnson said the family had hoped for an ambulance and not police, but when two officers arrived at the scene, Wallace’s pregnant wife told them that her husband had bipolar disorder and was in crisis.
“That was an unjustified shooting,” the attorney said. “We have a person who has mental health issues,...