On Wednesday, Philadelphia police released body camera footage that shows what happened in the moments leading up to the Oct. 26 shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr.
NBC News reports that before the footage was released, city officials gave a news conference during which they warned that the video footage—as well as 911 dispatch audio—is disturbing and that Wallace’s family had been contacted, had viewed the footage and approved the release of the recordings.
“The video footage contains graphic and violent images and may be intense and traumatic for some to watch,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said. “But greater transparency is necessary in making meaningful changes in our city and to keep our offices, institutions and departments accountable.”
According to NBC, audio from 911 calls made by a woman identified as Wallace’s sister, a neighbor and an unidentified man reveals that the police were responding to a report that Wallace was fighting with his parents. Wallace’s sister told 911 dispatch that Wallace was hitting her mother and father. When asked whether Wallace had a weapon, she said, “No, but he’s on probation and everything. He got a case for being violent and everything. He got a whole record.”
When asked whether an ambulance was needed, she responded that her mother’s blood pressure was up and that her father felt faint.
Here’s what the body camera footage shows as reported by NBC:
The body camera video picks up outside a residence and appears to show Wallace leaving with something in his hand. It is unclear what happened before the video began.
An officer yells for Wallace to “put the knife down now.”
“No, no, he’s mental,” a woman screams.
Wallace begins to walk around the street holding what appears to be a knife. Officers are on opposite sides of the block, based on the angles from their cameras. Wallace’s mother runs into the street to try to grab her son, but he brushes her aside.
Another man also tries to stop Wallace as officers demand that he “put the knife down.” Wallace is alone in the street when officers begin to fire and he falls to the ground.
At one point in the video, a man can be heard saying, “Shoot him.”
After Wallace falls, his mother rushes to him, yells at officers and appears to throw something at them.
“You killed my son,” she shouts.
Another woman yells at officers that she had told them that “he was mental.”
Two people move to care for Wallace, and an officer leaves after his partner tells him to bring a patrol car around to place Wallace inside and rush him to the hospital. The video ends there.
According to CBS News, Wallace was shot 14 times by two officers who were not carrying tasers. Wallace’s family said the 27-year-old was having a mental health crisis at the time he was shot and that the shooting was unjustified.
Dozens of peaceful protesters gathered in Philadelphia Wednesday ahead of the release of the video.
CBS reports that Kenney urged protesters not to riot or loot while acknowledging the emotional toll the video may take on viewers.
According to NBC, Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said it was the first time the department had ever released footage from the body-cam of an officer-involved in a shooting. She also identified the two officers as a 25-year-old Sean Materazzo, who has been with the department since 2018, and 26-year-old Thomas Munz, who has been with the department since 2017, CBS reports.
The investigation into the shooting is still ongoing.
You can view the body camera footage below. Warning: It is graphic and disturbing.