Philadelphia officials released officers’ bodycam video and the 911 recordings in the case of a Black man shot by police whose death has sparked days of civil unrest.
The video depicts Walter Wallace Jr. walking out of a home, at the rear of a parked car and then across a street in the direction of two police officers. One officer repeatedly implores the 27-year-old to “put the knife down.”
It does not show Wallace lunging or running at the officer. Shouts are heard in the background and screams after officers fire a fusillade of shots from their handguns.
In announcing the release of the video Wednesday, District Attorney Larry Krasner refused to commit to filing of charges against the two police officers involved in the death of Wallace. The man’s family had called 911 to report he needed help as he suffered from an apparent mental health crisis.
Krasner said he hopes releasing the video and call recordings will lead to greater transparency about the circumstances of the shooting, and to meaningful change.
“We understand the materials being released today will be very painful,” Krasner said. “The video footage contains graphic and violent images and may be intense and traumatic for some to watch.”
It was another video, recorded by a passerby, depicting the Oct. 26 incident that inflamed Philadelphia and led to the series of protests. The video showed a wider view of the two officers as they confronted Wallace in the street.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw identified the two officers in the incident as Sean Matarazzo, 25, a two-year veteran of the force, and Thomas Munz, 26, who had three years. She said there is no timeline into the investigation, but she pledged that it would be conducted fairly and honestly.
Likewise, Krasner said in these kinds of cases, “sometimes we have to move slowly, but we are unafraid when it is appropriate to either refuse charges or bring charges.”
He acknowledged there is a risk in releasing bodycam video and 911 audio recordings. He urged protesters to abstain from vandalism or destruction after the information is released to head off critics who say making the evidence available to the public only further inflames unrest.
(c) 2020 USA Today
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.