10:52 PM - October 30, 2020
10:52 PM - October 30, 2020

Recap: Officials try to calm tension over police killing of Walter Wallace Jr.

National Guard troops took up posts throughout Philadelphia on Friday as the city prepared for weekend protests related to the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr. and the crescendo of a contentious election cycle — all poised to collide with the intensifying coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Jim Kenney called it “perhaps the most unprecedented time” in city history, and imposed another 9 p.m. curfew Friday due to the possibility of unrest. He did not say if he would keep it in place over the weekend.

The mayor and Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw also announced that they and Wallace’s family had agreed to wait until Wednesday to release the 911 calls and body-worn camera footage from the two officers who fatally shot Wallace on Monday. The hope, Kenney said, was to “provide enough time to calm tensions and for the recordings to be released in the most constructive manner possible.”

“There’s multiple crises going on at any given time,” Kenney said. “I can’t tell you what’s going to happen on Saturday, Sunday, and onward, but we take it a day at a time.”

The mayor’s remarks came four days after the officers, responding to a radio call that reported an assault against an elderly man and woman, shot the 27-year-old Wallace as he wielded a knife outside his family’s West Philadelphia home. It marked the third time officers had been called to the house that day; Wallace had been seeking treatment for what his family said was bipolar disorder, and his mental health struggles had been cited by judges in his previous contact with the criminal justice system.

The killing has attracted national attention, and reignited a debate over the city’s Police Department, its policies for using force, and its response to impassioned demonstrations, some of which have coincided with looting or resulted in clashes between police and citizens. In one, officers were captured on video pulling a woman from an SUV during unrest in West Philadelphia, beating her, and separating her from her toddler, who had also been in the car.

Police said Friday that 214 people have been arrested in connection with the unrest, but just two of those arrests occurred Thursday. After two successive nights of protests, confrontations with police — which authorities said left dozens of officers injured — and businesses getting burglarized, Kenney implemented a curfew on Wednesday for one night.

Read more of our coverage of today’s events:

9:01 PM - October 30, 2020
9:01 PM - October 30, 2020

Curfew in Philly takes effect

The city curfew took effect at 9 p.m. Friday and police reported no major incidents related to unrest that roiled parts of Philadelphia since the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. on Monday.

It was the second time Mayor Jim Kenney imposed a curfew, which will end at 6 a.m. Saturday. The city also for the second night in a row implemented a traffic shut down in the core of Center City.

Kenney said earlier Friday that he also ordered the curfew again to guard against trouble that could emerge on what has been known in years past as “mischief night” before Halloween.

— Robert Moran

7:56 PM - October 30, 2020
7:56 PM - October 30, 2020

Video: Woman pulled out of her car was obeying officers' orders, lawyer says

— Lauren Schneiderman

5:57 PM - October 30, 2020
5:57 PM - October 30, 2020

4 Philly councilmembers push for more police budget cuts

Philadelphia’s four newest City Council members vowed Friday to continue fighting for cuts to the police department budget, and said they had unsuccessfully pushed for more significant budget cuts than were made in June.

Councilmembers Isaiah Thomas, Jamie Gauthier, Kendra Brooks, and Katherine Gilmore Richardson — all of whom took office in January — spoke about the police budget and other reforms during a Zoom town hall Friday afternoon with activists and youth leaders in Philadelphia.

“Every councilmember on this call was on board for a higher level of cut to the police than we had,” Gauthier said. “We couldn’t get enough to get the votes that we needed…I think we have to figure out where we’re cutting from and also what we’re investing in. I think we have to be very clear about that.”

Gauthier, whose West Philadelphia district includes the neighborhood where police killed Walter Wallace Jr. on Monday, said she and other Council members will focus in the coming weeks and months on where funding could be reinvested. With a clear plan to reinvest money, she said, she is more hopeful that an agreement to defend the police could be reached.

Amid demonstrations calling for defunding the police after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Philadelphia City Council passed a budget in June that canceled a proposed $19 million increase for the Police Department budget. The plan also diverted $14 million to other parts of the city budget, by moving crossing guards and public safety enforcement officers out of the Police Department.

Thomas said Council members had discussed removing between $50 million and $140 million in additional funding from the Police Department. Disagreement about those proposals, he said, was based on how money would be reinvested.

“We could not have some level of agreement on ‘how do we invest the money?’” Thomas said.

Gauthier said she had proposed putting more money into the city’s Office of Violence Prevention, but she has doubts about that office’s ability to enact meaningful change.

“I can’t say for sure if we invested $20 million in them that they would be ready to take $20 million and do what we need them to do,” she said.

Thomas hosted Friday’s virtual town hall meeting to discuss the next steps for police reform in Philadelphia after Wallace’s death.

“In about 72 hours people are going to go from anger to what’s next,” he said. “So that’s why we’re here today, to talk about the ‘what’s next’ part.”

Other speakers at Friday’s town hall included high school students who said they are scared of police, activists who said the city must change responses to mental health crises and 911 calls, and community leaders who said they’ve been horrified by police brutality they witnessed during protests this week.

Thomas acknowledged that residents feel a “sense of urgency,” but said City Council does not have control over many of the suggested reforms.

“One of the things we struggle with is how do we legislate our response to 911 calls,” he said. “At the end of the day, a lot of the recommendations that you’re making are executed from the executive branch of government.”

— Laura McCrystal

4:10 PM - October 30, 2020
4:10 PM - October 30, 2020

Video: Community members gather to demand Anthony ‘Ant’ Smith’s release from federal prison

— Raishad Hardnett

2:37 PM - October 30, 2020
2:37 PM - October 30, 2020

National Guard won’t be stationed near polling places on Election Day

An unidentified pedestrian walks between members of the National Guard as they stand in front of the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building in Philadelphia, Pa. Friday, October 31, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
An unidentified pedestrian walks between members of the National Guard as they stand in front of the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building in Philadelphia, Pa. Friday, October 31, 2020.

As some worry about whether an increased police presence in Philadelphia and elsewhere will have a psychological impact on voters in Tuesday’s presidential election, Mayor Jim Kenney said National Guard members will not be stationed near polling places on Election Day in the city.

The Guard “won’t be enforcing law. They’ll be guarding property,” he said. On Election Day, “I think people will feel safer if the community and city is calm as opposed to the city not being calm.”

The National Guard arrived in Philadelphia Friday and is expected to stay through next week in case there is unrest following the presidential election.

State law says police officers may not be inside or within 100 feet of polling places unless called in to respond to specific situations, and that “No body of troops in the Army of the United States or of this Commonwealth shall be present, either armed or unarmed, at any place of election within this Commonwealth during the time of any primary or election.”

— Erin McCarthy and Jonathan Lai

2:33 PM - October 30, 2020
2:33 PM - October 30, 2020

Commissioner Outlaw, Mayor Kenney defend their leadership

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw takes questions from community members as she joins other elected officials and local leaders at an emergency community meeting at the Church of the Christian Compassion on Tuesday.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw takes questions from community members as she joins other elected officials and local leaders at an emergency community meeting at the Church of the Christian Compassion on Tuesday.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw on Friday defended the work of her force during a week of protests and unrest, and said she wanted to know from residents how they’d like to see the department improve.

“We know folks want to feel safe. Our officers want to feel safe,” she said. “I want to publicly acknowledge our officers are out there grinding … We’re tired. We’re all tired. But we keep pushing through.”

Outlaw said she’s heard people ask why the city is taking measures such as imposing a curfew when the last two nights have been calm.

“It was calm last night,” she said, “because we were out there taking preventative measures.”

She added: “Quite frankly, it’s really easy to cast and throw stones when you’re not sitting in these chairs and having to make these decisions.”

Mayor Jim Kenney called this week “perhaps the most unprecedented time in the city’s history” as it battles a pandemic, faces the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., and prepares for a presidential election. “We do understand and we apologize for people’s inconvenience when it comes to doing things to keep them safe.”

— Erin McCarthy

2:25 PM - October 30, 2020
2:25 PM - October 30, 2020

‘Quite concerning’: Outlaw on the viral video of police swarming an SUV, assaulting driver during protest

Police charge forth toward an SUV on Chestnut St. between 52nd and 53rd sts. on Oct. 26, 2020.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Police charge forth toward an SUV on Chestnut St. between 52nd and 53rd sts. on Oct. 26, 2020.

“What I saw was quite concerning,” she said. "But I am very careful about what I say because I do not know all the circumstances around it, what led up to it, what the officers experienced.

— Erin McCarthy

2:19 PM - October 30, 2020
2:19 PM - October 30, 2020

Why is there a curfew in Philly tonight?

A lone person stands in the street in front of Dilworth Plaza in Center City Philadelphia after curfew began on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
A lone person stands in the street in front of Dilworth Plaza in Center City Philadelphia after curfew began on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020.

Mayor Jim Kenney said he decided to implement a curfew Friday night due to its proximity to Halloween. He said he wasn’t sure whether additional curfews would be imposed in the coming days as well.

“With tonight being mischief night, we wanted to get people indoors as quickly as possible,” he said.

The night before Halloween is commonly referred to as mischief night across the region, and is often a time when people pull pranks on neighbors and sometimes vandalize property.

» READ MORE: What is Mischief Night?

— Erin McCarthy

1:56 PM - October 30, 2020
1:56 PM - October 30, 2020

Mayor, district attorney, and Walter Wallace Jr.'s family say body-cam footage, 911 calls to be released Wednesday

(L-R) Kathy Brant mother of Walter Wallace Jr., and Walter Wallace, father of Walter Wallace Jr., are pictured during a press conference at City Hall in Phila., Pa. on Oct. 29, 2020.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
(L-R) Kathy Brant mother of Walter Wallace Jr., and Walter Wallace, father of Walter Wallace Jr., are pictured during a press conference at City Hall in Phila., Pa. on Oct. 29, 2020.

Mayor Jim Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krasner, and the family of the late Walter Wallace Jr. said they have agreed that the 911 audio and body-camera footage from Wallace’s fatal shooting should be released on Wednesday.

“The Wallace Family, the Mayor, District Attorney, and Police Commissioner have all agreed that releasing the body camera footage and 911 audio on Wednesday, November 4, by the close of business is in the best interest of our city and its residents," they said Friday in a joint statement. “Philadelphians are experiencing an immense amount of pain, and significant unrest persists throughout the entire city.”

“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,” they added, "and for the recordings to be released in the most constructive manner possible.”

At a news conference , Kenney said that the officers who shot Wallace would also be identified on Nov. 4.

“I am firmly committed to full transparency” in the fatal shooting of Wallace Jr., as long as it does not interfere with the investigations of the District Attorney’s Office or police internal affairs, Kenney said.

The mayor said the choice to release the 911 call audio and the body-camera footage on Wednesday had nothing to do with the presidential election on Tuesday.

“We’ve been tense way before Tuesday. It’s been tensions all week long,” Kenney said. “This was supported by the Wallace family and by the district attorney.”

As for the Wallace family and their attorneys saying Thursday they wished the footage and audio had already been released, Kenney said, “I understand that has changed.”

City Solicitor Marcel Pratt, who has been talking with the family and their attorneys, said they decided next week would be better timing for the purposes of easing tensions.

— Erin McCarthy

1:48 PM - October 30, 2020
1:48 PM - October 30, 2020

Police union president calls on city to release body-cam video, 911 calls of fatal shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.

In this file photo, John McNesby, President of FOP Lodge 5, speaks Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, at a news conference.
TYGER WILLIAMS
In this file photo, John McNesby, President of FOP Lodge 5, speaks Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, at a news conference.

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, called Friday for city leaders to release body-worn camera footage and 911 calls of the police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., saying the video shows that officers instructed Wallace to drop a knife he was carrying “more than 20 times” over the course of about a minute before opening fire.

In a statement, McNesby said the officers — whom police have not identified — “were justified in their use of force under very difficult and stressful conditions.”

He had previously called on the city to make more information about the killing public, saying that the officers had acted appropriately to protect themselves and others as Wallace carried a knife while outside his family’s West Philadelphia house Monday afternoon.

“The public deserves to know that this investigation will be transparent and show that officers followed department training and protocols,” McNesby said.

A lawyer for Wallace’s family, Shaka Johnson Jr., who viewed the video with Wallace’s relatives Thursday, said that the video shows officers telling Wallace to drop a knife he was holding, people on the street yelling out that he was mentally distressed, and one officer telling the other, “Shoot him,” before both began firing.

In a statement late Thursday, the Mayor’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office said they expected the footage, as well as audio recordings of the 911 calls, to be released by the end of next week.

Chris Palmer

1:30 PM - October 30, 2020
1:30 PM - October 30, 2020

City will impose another 9 p.m. curfew Friday

A pedestrian passes the boarded-up Five Guys on Chestnut Street in Center City Philadelphia shortly before curfew on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020.
TIM TAI / Staff Photographer
A pedestrian passes the boarded-up Five Guys on Chestnut Street in Center City Philadelphia shortly before curfew on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020.

The city will impose a curfew from 9 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday, officials announced.

After unrest on Monday and Tuesday nights in response to police fatally shooting Walter Wallace Jr., Philadelphia implemented a curfew from Wednesday to Thursday morning. There were no large-scale protests Wednesday and little unrest, and officials did not impose a curfew Thursday night, which was also quiet.

Overnight Thursday to Friday, police reported two arrests for burglary and 13 incidents of break-ins and theft.

— Erin McCarthy

11:29 AM - October 30, 2020
11:29 AM - October 30, 2020

National Guard arrives in Philly after two nights without protests or unrest

Members of the National Guard stand in guard in front of the Philadelphia City Hall Building in Philadelphia, Pa. Friday, October 31, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Members of the National Guard stand in guard in front of the Philadelphia City Hall Building in Philadelphia, Pa. Friday, October 31, 2020.

The National Guard arrived in Philadelphia Friday morning after being called in earlier this week to quell unrest that broke out after police fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man who had a knife and whose family said was suffering from a mental health crisis.

Wearing camouflage helmets and carrying rifles, a couple Guardsmen were walking around near City Hall around noon Friday, and convoy trucks were parked, mostly around the Municipal Services Building.

Members of the National Guard stand in guard in front of the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building in Philadelphia, Pa. Friday, October 31, 2020.
JOSE F. MORENO / Staff Photographer
Members of the National Guard stand in guard in front of the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building in Philadelphia, Pa. Friday, October 31, 2020.

Their arrival comes after two nights without large-scale protests or unrest in the city, though there were scattered break-ins, theft, and vandalism unrelated to the protest movement. Gov. Tom Wolf called in the Guard amid unrest earlier this week.

But on both Wednesday and Thursday, local authorities and Pennsylvania State Police — some of whom came from across the state and were mounted on horses — outnumbered protesters and at times even pedestrians.

Pennsylvania State Troopers arrive at the City Hall area on Oct. 29, 2020.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Pennsylvania State Troopers arrive at the City Hall area on Oct. 29, 2020.

A curfew was imposed citywide from 9 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday, but was not reinstated Thursday night. It is unclear whether the city is considering additional curfews or restrictions in the coming days.

The Guard is set to stay through next week in case there’s unrest following Tuesday’s presidential election, the results of which may not be known Tuesday night as was common in past years.

Police kept many of the Center City streets blocked to traffic from 8th to 20th Streets and Vine to Walnut Streets on Oct. 29, 2020. A pedestrian makes their way towards a deserted Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Police kept many of the Center City streets blocked to traffic from 8th to 20th Streets and Vine to Walnut Streets on Oct. 29, 2020. A pedestrian makes their way towards a deserted Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

— Erin McCarthy, Jeremy Roebuck

8:40 AM - October 30, 2020
8:40 AM - October 30, 2020

The aftermath of police fatally shooting Walter Wallace Jr. in photos

— Inquirer staff photographers

8:33 AM - October 30, 2020
8:33 AM - October 30, 2020

Video: Walter Wallace Jr.'s father speaks about his son’s killing

— Lauren Schneiderman

7:56 AM - October 30, 2020
7:56 AM - October 30, 2020

‘Shoot him,’ an officer said before firing at Walter Wallace Jr., lawyers say body-cam footage shows

Selena Wallace (standing) comforts her grandmother, Kathy Brant, during a press conference with the family of Walter Wallace Jr. at City Hall in Phila., Pa. on Oct. 29, 2020.
ELIZABETH ROBERTSON / Staff Photographer
Selena Wallace (standing) comforts her grandmother, Kathy Brant, during a press conference with the family of Walter Wallace Jr. at City Hall in Phila., Pa. on Oct. 29, 2020.

Video from body cameras worn by the officers who shot Walter Wallace Jr. on Monday show them telling him to drop a knife he was holding, people on his West Philadelphia street yelling out that he was mentally distressed, and one officer telling the other, “Shoot him,” before both began firing, according to the lawyer for relatives who saw the footage on Thursday.

Speaking outside City Hall hours after Wallace’s family reviewed the recordings and met with Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and other city officials, lawyer Shaka Johnson said the footage was brief but showed Wallace “in obvious mental health crisis” before being shot at 14 times by the two officers.

“It’s a lot of commotion and chaos,” Johnson said, adding that Wallace, before he was shot, appeared to be walking around “in a cloud … like a person who didn’t understand the gravity of the situation.”

Outlaw had pledged to publicly release the police videos of the killing, as well as audio of the 911 calls, after the family saw them. In a statement late Thursday, the Mayor’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office said they expected the materials to be released by the end of next week.

—Chris Palmer, Mensah M. Dean, Mike Newall and Laura McCrystal

7:39 AM - October 30, 2020
7:39 AM - October 30, 2020

Friday roundup of our coverage of the Walter Wallace Jr. shooting

Just getting caught up on what’s happened in Philadelphia since police fatally shot Walter Wallace Jr. on Monday? Here’s what to read to learn about the protest movement, Wallace, and the aftermath of his death.

— Erin McCarthy