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32 arrested at Brooklyn protest over Philadelphia police killing

October 28, 2020 Associated Press
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Thirty-two people were arrested during a protest in Downtown Brooklyn over the police shooting of a Black man in Philadelphia, police said Wednesday.

Protesters broke store windows, set fires and vandalized police cars during the chaos at about 10 p.m. Tuesday, police said. Videos posted on social media show officers surrounding a car and trying to stop it. The car kept going, driving slowly through a line of officers on bicycles.

A New York Police Department spokesperson said five officers suffered minor injuries and nine police vehicles were vandalized. The spokesperson said 32 people were arrested. He did not know what charges they faced.

Philadelphia police fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr., 27, on Monday after he ignored orders to drop a knife. Wallace’s parents said the officers knew their son was in a mental health crisis because they had been to the family’s house three times that day.

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Wallace’s family had called for an ambulance to get him help with a mental health crisis, not for police intervention, their lawyer said.

Hundreds of people took to the streets to protest the shooting late in Philadelphia Monday into early Tuesday, with interactions between protesters and police turning violent at times, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Video showed many yelling at officers and crying.

On Tuesday night, about 500 people gathered at a West Philadelphia park and marched through the neighborhood, chanting.

A worker removed graffiti from a Bank of America branch on Court Street on Wednesday.

In Washington, the White House issued a statement just before 1 a.m. Wednesday asserting the Philadelphia unrest was another consequence of “Liberal Democrats’ war against the police” and that the Trump administration “stands proudly with law enforcement, and stands ready, upon request, to deploy any and all Federal resources to end these riots.”

A Pennsylvania National Guard spokesperson told Inquirer Tuesday that several hundred guardsmen were expected to arrive in the city within 24 to 48 hours.

Throughout the day Tuesday, state and local officials called for transparency and a thorough investigation of the killing of Wallace Jr., including the release of body camera footage from the two officers who fired their weapons.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said at a news conference Tuesday that she was still reviewing when and what information would be released to the public. The officers had not been interviewed as of Tuesday afternoon, she said. Neither had a Taser or similar device at the time of the shooting, Outlaw said, noting the department had previously asked for funding to equip more officers with those devices.

Outlaw said the officers’ names and other identifying information, including their race, would be withheld until the department could be sure releasing the information would not pose a threat to their safety. The officers were taken off street duty during the investigation.

Police officials said they could not confirm what information had been given to the responding officers, whether they were told about a possible mental illness or how many calls they had received for help at Wallace’s address Monday. Chief Police Inspector Frank Vanore confirmed that police had received a call before the fatal encounter Monday about a man screaming and saying that he was armed with a knife.

Nail salon workers cleaned broken glass from the sidewalk on Wednesday on Atlantic Avenue.

The two officers each fired at least seven rounds — at least 14 total shots — but Vanore could not say how many times Wallace was struck.

Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr. said Tuesday night that he is haunted by the way his son was “butchered.”

“It’s in my mind. I can’t even sleep at night. I can’t even close my eyes,” he said.

In video filmed by a bystander and posted on social media, officers yell for Wallace to drop a knife. In the video, Wallace’s mother and at least one man follow Wallace, trying to get him to listen to officers, as he briskly walks across the street and between cars.

Wallace advanced toward the officers, who then fired several times, said police spokesperson Officer Tanya Little. Wallace’s mother screams and throws something at an officer after her son is shot and falls to the ground.

The video does not make it clear whether he was in fact holding a knife, but witnesses said he was. Police would not confirm any details about the weapon Wallace was alleged to be holding Tuesday, saying it is still part of the open investigation.

Wallace was hit in the shoulder and chest, Little said. One officer drove him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, she said.

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