Body camera footage of the moments leading up to the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. will be released publicly Wednesday, the day after the national election.
A joint statement released Friday by Philadelphia’s mayor, district attorney, and police commissioner and the Wallace family said the timing “is in the best interest of our city and its residents.”
“Philadelphians are experiencing an immense amount of pain, and significant unrest persists throughout the entire city,” the statement said. “The collective hope of our local government and the Wallace family is that releasing the recordings on November 4 will provide enough time to calm tensions and for the recordings to be released in the most constructive manner possible.”
The statement came one day after Wallace’s relatives watched the footage, which family attorney Shaka Johnson said showed the man in an “obvious mental health crisis.”
The footage, which is about 30 to 40 seconds long, showed Wallace emerging from a house with a knife as family members shout about his mental condition, according to Johnson.
The head of the city’s police union on Friday called for the release of the footage and 911 audio “so that the city can begin the process of healing” following days of unrest and curfews.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 President John McNesby, in a statement, said the union’s review of the footage and audio showed officers retreated for “nearly 50 seconds” and ordered Wallace to drop his knife “more than 20 times” before shooting.
Wallace, 27, was shot and killed Monday while holding a knife during a confrontation with police in West Philadelphia. The shooting and the moments that immediately preceded it were also recorded by a bystander with a cell phone.
Wallace’s family has said he suffered from bipolar disorder and was in crisis at the time of the shooting.
“The officers were justified in their use of force under very difficult and stressful conditions, an armed man confronting them with a knife,” said McNesby, who noted the officers “followed police department training and protocols.”
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Friday the body cam footage concerned her.
“I’m quite careful about what I say because I do not know all the circumstances around it as far as what led up to it, what the officers experienced and what they will be saying in their internal affairs interview.” she said. “With that said, I would only be speculating right now but what I saw was rather concerning”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said that the identities of the officers involved in the shooting will also be released on Wednesday.
Officials said Friday a citywide curfew will again be in place from 9 p.m. through 6 a.m.
There were two arrests in connection with unrest late Thursday and early Friday and 13 looting incidents, according to the mayor’s office.
The shooting has set off days unrest, with demonstrators marching in the streets and some instances of property destruction and attacks on police officers.
Johnson said officers fired 14 times at Wallace from about a car-and-a-half-length distance away. He said the city had failed the officers by not giving them less lethal options such as a Taser to handle such situations.
Wallace’s family believes the city failed them, but they are not calling for the officers to be charged with murder, Johnson told reporters on Thursday.
“And here’s why, here’s why: They were improperly trained and did not have the proper equipment by which to effectuate their job,” Johnson said.