Son of Walter Wallace Jr says ‘white racist cops’ killed his father
The eight-year-old son of a black man shot dead by Philadelphia police has said he believes the officers involved were racist.
Zamir, the eldest son of Walter Wallace Jr, said on Wednesday that “white racist cops” had killed his father as he told reporters what he would remember about him.
“We used to always hang out and we’d always go places, and we used to always play around,” Zamir said, adding: “He used to always teach me how to be a man.
“These white racist cops got my own dad. Black lives still matter.”
Mr Wallace was shot dead in the street on Monday in an incident caught on camera and later widely shared on the web.
The footage, filmed by a bystander, shows police officers firing several times at the 27-year-old after yelling at him to drop a knife.
According to the family lawyer, Shaka Johnson, Mr Wallace’s relatives had called an ambulance to help the father of nine rather than police as they believed he was experiencing a mental health crisis.
Mr Johnson said it was also believed the officers knew about the crisis because they had visited the family home three times on the day of the shooting.
The incident has since sparked two consecutive nights of protesting in Philadelphia that began with peaceful marching and the chanting of Mr Wallace’s name, before being taken over by violence.
On Tuesday evening, several protesters threw rocks, light bulbs and bricks at officers near a police station in the city, while looters were also spotted ransacking shops.
It followed a night of unrest on Monday, where more than 90 people were arrested and 30 police officers were injured.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Mr Wallace’s father criticised the violence and looting, which has resulted in the National Guard being deployed.
He said he was haunted by the way his son was “butchered” but said he wanted protesters in Philadelphia to show his family and the city “some kind of respect”.
“It’s uncalled for,” Mr Wallace said of the violence. “It really is.”
State and local officials are now calling for a transparent investigation into Mr Wallace’s death, while Philadelphia police commissioner Danielle Outlaw said she was reviewing what information could be made public.
This includes whether the officers were aware of the possible mental health crisis mentioned by the family.
Mr Wallace Jr’s death is the latest killing of a black person by US police officers, and comes after months of Black Lives Matter protests, sparked initially by the death of George Floyd.
Mr Wallace Jr’s wife Dominique is pregnant and is due to have her labour induced later today.
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