Riots In Philadelphia Following Shooting

Late Monday afternoon, Walter Wallace, Jr. was shot by police in Philadelphia. His death has sparked outrage, triggering riots and attacks on city police.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has verified that police had been called to the premises repeatedly over the prior few months, as he had known mental health issues and had been threatening violence to those around him. On Monday, he chased police officers into the street and was quickly approaching them with a knife when he was repeatedly shot. The images were quickly posted to social media, along with racial interpretations of the conflict and portrayal of the police as the aggressors.

As one can see from the video, the description of “not charging the officers” is a very selective interpretation of events. He had just finished charging at the officers and was continuing to close with them as they backed up… and as has been demonstrated in many prior attacks, a man with a hand weapon can render significant and even fatal damage if they charge from less than fifteen feet away. Wallace was ten feet away when shot.

The video of the white man being handled with a billy club is designed to present the image of blacks being casually slain while whites are not, but this is not borne out by the evidence or history. Wallace himself had been the subject of multiple police calls with no incidents of violence against him. In most years, the chance of a white person being shot dead due to threatening violence against a policeman in a given stop is significantly greater than that of a black person. This is not to say there is equality in treatment… blacks are historically far more likely to be stopped than whites and they are far more likely to be temporarily detained or subjected to minor physical abuses such as being tackled before being handcuffed, but they have been less likely to be killed while resisting arrest.

Of particular note in this instance is Wallace’s known mental health issues. His mother was present at the time and had been calling for the officers to be aware of his problems. His wife had informed the officers that he was in a manic phase due to his bipolar disorder. This again raises the issue of what is expected from police officers when facing someone with mental issues and is considered dangerous; while there is little argument the person may not be as responsible for their actions as they are when stable, the police expect to be allowed to defend themselves against physical violence.

The killing has inspired two nights of increasing violence in Philadelphia, much of which has been directed toward attacking and looting storefronts. Police, wary of confronting and potentially injuring more people, have been retreating and allowing large groups to commit property damage and theft.

People who are committing burglary while apart from a group have been detained, and identification of some specific individuals involved in the criminal groups has been possible. There have been 91 arrests over two days, and 27 cases of felony burglary processed with more than 50 additional cases being finalized.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.