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Another deadly police shooting of a Black man sparks Philadelphia protests

Editor's Note: This story contains graphic footage viewers may find disturbing.

The fatal shooting of a Black man by police in Philadelphia on Monday afternoon sparked large protests overnight. Walter Wallace Jr., whose family said he suffered from mental health issues, brandished a knife at officers Monday, refusing to obey their orders to drop it. They shot him multiple times. It’s only the latest police killing in recent months to provoke public outrage. John Yang reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The fatal shooting of a Black man by police in Philadelphia Monday afternoon triggered large protests overnight.

    As John Yang reports, it is the latest police killing in this country in recent months to provoke strong public outrage.

  • John Yang:

    Violent protests broke out overnight in Philadelphia, with more than 30 officers injured.

  • Woman:

    Oh, he hit a cop. Oh, my God, he hit a cop. He hit a cop.

  • John Yang:

    More than a dozen people arrested, cars set aflame…

  • Man:

    I was on my way home. This is in the middle 52nd Street.

  • John Yang:

    … and stores looted. Philadelphia City Councilman Isaiah Thomas:

  • Isaiah Thomas:

    Like so many Philadelphians, it was hard to wake up this morning after seeing so many graphic images of what took place in our city last night.

    We see these incidents. We recognize our city has a lot of problems.

  • John Yang:

    The spark? A killing Monday of a 27-year-old Black man named Walter Wallace Jr. captured on video. Just before 4:00 p.m., two officers responded to a report of a man with a knife in a predominantly Black neighborhood in West Philadelphia. As Wallace approached the officers, they opened fire.


  • Man:

    Oh! Oh! Oh (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Oh, my God.

  • John Yang:

    He was rushed to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he died.

    Philadelphia Police Sergeant Eric Gripp described what happened.

  • Eric Gripp:

    The male continued to follow after the officers while brandishing the weapon. The officers ordered him to drop it several more times. Unfortunately, he did not. And the officers discharged their weapon several times, striking the male.

  • John Yang:

    Wallace's father said his son suffered from mental health issues and was on medication.

    Questions immediately swirled about why officers hadn't used a Taser to subdue him and why they fired so many rounds. The officers were wearing body cameras. Their names haven't been disclosed, but they have been removed from street duty.

    In a statement, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said: "I recognize that the video of the incident raises many questions. Residents have my assurance that those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation."

    This afternoon, a lawyer for Wallace's family spoke to reporters.

  • Shaka Johnson:

    That was an unjustified shooting. I think you saw it as well. We all saw it. It was an unjustified shooting.

    We have a person who has mental health issues. We're going to vet those out as the process continues. But we have officers who I think are not properly trained to deal with those mental health issues.

  • Protesters:

    Shut it down!

  • John Yang:

    The video of Wallace's shooting led to protests that turned violent late last night and to vandalism and looting in areas already hit-hard after the death of George Floyd earlier this year.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

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