Protests erupted overnight in Philadelphia after police shot dead a 27-year-old Black man holding a knife in the latest police killing to spark anger in the United States, just a week before the election.
Local media reported that two officers shot the man on Monday afternoon, October 26, after he refused to drop the knife as his mother tried to restrain him, though his family questioned why lethal force was needed and said he suffered mental health issues.
Hundreds of protesters gathered after the shooting, with riot police pushing them back with shields and batons.
During a night of sporadic riots and looting in the city, around 30 police officers were injured, including one whose leg was broken when hit by a truck.
A spokesman for Philadelphia police said most injuries were caused by projectiles such as bricks and rocks.
“All (are) in stable condition at various hospitals,” said Miguel Torres, the spokesman.
The US has seen a wave of protests and rioting since the police killing of George Floyd in May in Minnesota, when an officer was filmed pressing his knee to handcuffed Floyd’s neck until he went limp.
Many of the protests have accused the police of racism and brutality, but President Donald Trump has focused on the unrest to bolster his claims to be the “law-and-order” candidate in his election battle against Joe Biden.
“We’ll be standing by and prepared to deploy federal resources, if necessary,” White House director of communications Alyssa Farah told Fox News on Tuesday, October 27.
“President Trump will not tolerate any violence directed at America’s law enforcement. We’re going to let the investigation play out, but we will not tolerate lawlessness in our streets.”
Local media said phone video of Monday’s killing posted on social media showed Walter Wallace push his mother away and then walk toward the police.
“Put the knife down,” one of the officers shouted in the video, which panned away as officers opened fire.
Wallace’s father, also called Walter Wallace, said his son appeared to have been shot 10 times, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
““Why didn’t they use a Taser?” the paper quoted him as saying. “He has mental issues. Why you have to gun him down?” he added, saying that his son was on medication.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw launched an investigation, saying that the video “raises many questions.”
“While at the scene this evening, I heard and felt the anger of the community,” she said in a statement.
“Everyone involved will forever be impacted. I will be leaning on what the investigation gleans to answer the many unanswered questions that exist.” – Rappler.com
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