Walter Wallace’s Family Doesn’t Want Murder Charges Against Officers Because They Were ‘Improperly Trained’

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Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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Walter Wallace Jr.’s family reportedly does not want to pursue murder charges against the Philadelphia police officers who shot and killed him, saying the officers were “improperly trained,” numerous sources reported.

The family privately reviewed the police body camera footage Thursday, the same week that Wallace, 27, was shot and killed while experiencing a mental health crisis and carrying a knife, NPR reported Friday.

Attorney Shaka Johnson, who is representing the family, reportedly said that the brief video displayed the systemic failings of the Philadelphia Police Department, which did not equip its officers with tasers, but rather, “a tool by which to assassinate.” 

Wallace was killed by police after officers responded Monday to a report of a man with a weapon. When they arrived at the scene, they encountered a man with a knife who was told repeatedly to drop the knife, according to police. The man didn’t follow calls to drop the knife, and police opened fire, shooting him seven times. (RELATED: More Than 30 Arrested After Riots Erupt In Philadelphia Following Alleged Police Shooting Of Man With Knife) 

When asked why the family did not want to pursue murder charges against the two officers, Johnson said it was because “they were improperly trained and did not have the proper equipment by which to effectuate their job,” according to NPR.

The family intends to file a wrongful death suit, but even if they do not pursue murder charges, District Attorney Larry Krasner may decide to.

Wallace’s family said he had bipolar disorder and was in crisis during the time of the shooting, his family said, according to CNN. Relatives had reportedly called authorities multiple times throughout the day to ask for an ambulance, but the police arrived first, Johnson said, according to CNN. When police arrived, Wallace was weaving through traffic with a knife. 

“You will see a person walking around not even speaking,” Johnson said, according to NPR, adding that it looked as if Wallace was “in a cloud.”

“I understand he had a knife … and I think that does not give you carte blanche to execute a man,” Johnson said.

Officers claimed Wallace was advancing toward them, but the family disputes this claim. Bystanders videos show that at least one officer shouted for Wallace to “drop the knife,” according to NPR. 

Philadelphia police commissioner Danielle Outlaw said authorities will release the body camera footage and 911 tapes involved in the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. “in the near future” to the public, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office announced Monday after the shooting that it was opening its own investigation. The federal government is also investigating the shooting, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday.