The City of Philadelphia shed more light on the death of Walter Wallace Jr., a 27-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by police less than two weeks ago.
During a press conference Wednesday, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw identified the involved officers as Sean Matarazzo, 25, and Thomas Munz, 26. Officials also released audio a portion of the bodycam footage that captured the officers' interaction with Wallace in the moments before he was shot and killed. According to ABC 6, the police approach Wallace as he stands on his front porch with what appears to be a knife in his hand. The officers are heard telling the man to "put the knife down," but Wallace ignored the demands and began moving toward Matarazzo and Munz. Seconds later, each of the officers fired seven shots at Wallace.
The city did not confirm how many times Wallace was struck; however, his family's attorney, Shaka Johnson, said Wallace was incapacitated after the first shot.
"I understand he had a knife, but that does not give you carte blanche to execute a man, quite frankly," Johnson told reporters at a news conference. "What other than death did you intend when you shoot a man — each officer — seven times apiece?"
One of the officers reportedly placed Wallace in a police car and transported him to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Wallace's family reportedly reviewed the bodycam footage with Outlaw sometime last week, and requested only parts of the video be released to the public.
"We have protected that family, we have done here exactly what they asked us to do, to be transparent but also to protect their privacy in a moment of tragedy that is devastating this family," District Attorney Larry Krasner said.
The city also shared audio from 911 calls connected to the incident. The first of which came from neighbors reporting a fight at the Wallace's residence. Shortly after, a woman who claimed to be Wallace's sister phoned police and told them her brother was assaulting their parents.
"I'm the daughter to my mother and father, and my brother is — they called the cops earlier and the cops is not doing nothing. He's over there hitting my mother and father," the woman tells the dispatcher, who then asks if any weapons are involved. "No, but he got ... he's on probation. He got a case for being violent, he got a whole record."
Moments later, a man at the residence called 911 stating, "My mom needs help."
The police shooting ignited protests and civil unrest across Philadelphia, with many demanding justice for Wallace. His family, however, said they do not want Matarazzo or Munz charged with murder because "they were improperly trained and did not have the proper equipment by which to effectuate their job."
Outlaw said an internal investigation is underway, and reassured the public that the department would implement more deescalation training for police by the end of next year.
"The city has failed, not only the Wallace family, not only the other members of that community, who will be scarred and traumatized for the remainder of their days, but the city has also failed those police officers, it failed them tremendously," Johnson said. "The only remedy the police had, in that moment per their thinking, was their service weapon. There was no less lethal action available. And that has been our war cry."
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