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Community remembers Walter Wallace Jr. | Morning Newsletter

Plus, the election polls you’re seeing might actually be right this time.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Good morning.

First: Members of the West Philadelphia community where Walter Wallace Jr. lived before he was fatally shot by police officers during a confrontation Monday expressed their grief and shock over his death. Another night of tense protests in the city followed. We’re continuing to cover all the latest developments and fallout from the fatal shooting.

And: This year’s polls showing Joe Biden’s healthy lead over President Donald Trump? They might actually be right. Let’s get into what’s different this year compared with 2016.

— Ashley Hoffman (@_ashleyhoffman,

Family and neighbors remembered Walter Wallace Jr. as a father, son, and rap artist after he was fatally shot by police during a confrontation, galvanizing community members who took to the streets to lift his name to national attention. He was a “family man” with many mental health crises.

On the Cobbs Creek block where he lived, people swayed and wept as the sounds of Wallace’s Black Lives Matter-themed song “Black Hearted" blared through the block from the red Toyota of a woman who identified herself as Wallace’s cousin.

“We walk the same walk as Walter,” said Chris Thomas, who lives on the block. "Everyone that was out here is traumatized.”

Several hundred people marched in West Philly last night, and city officials eventually told residents of multiple neighborhoods to stay indoors later in the evening as the unrest escalated. Rocks were thrown at police and numerous arrests were made. For many in the community, the shock and grief of Wallace Jr.'s death at police hands is tinged with a terrible sense of familiarity.

We also learned from sources that police responded to Wallace Jr.'s home three times on Monday — with the third encounter proving fatal.

Even though the memory of premature polls predicting a Hillary Clinton victory in crucial states still burns for some, reporter Jonathan Tamari talked to experts about why it would be much harder for Trump to pull off a win this time.

For one thing, Biden’s lead is more formidable. Hillary Clinton just didn’t have that. And another: More people know which way they’re going this time. The number-crunching shows there are far fewer undecided or third-party voters than ’16. These are the key variables.

What you need to know today

  1. It’s highly unlikely that the Supreme Court could have a hand in deciding the presidential election based on a case out of Pennsylvania, but it’s not impossible. Here’s what would have to happen first.

  2. Trump has claimed that Biden will get rid of the oil industry, and that’s no joke for a place like Pennsylvania with an oil-heavy sector employing thousands of workers. But Biden plans to reduce the country’s reliance on oil, not wipe the industry out entirely. These are the facts.

  3. With the pandemic’s extraordinary circumstances, some might welcome an offer from a trusted friend to drop off their ballot. But before you hand that envelope over, let’s talk about why people fear the worst kind of harvest this fall, “ballot harvesting."

  4. Expect heavy rains and possible flash flooding in Philly starting tomorrow morning into Friday courtesy of Hurricane Zeta.

  5. Pennsylvania now has its highest rate of new infections during the whole pandemic. And the coronavirus is spreading so rapidly in Philly that it’s become too unwieldy for the city’s contact-tracing program to track every case, officials said yesterday.

  6. Here’s how the two massive tax payment issues that could be coming for companies and employees who work from home may affect you.

  7. Thousands of Philly’s renters could be exposed to eviction in two weeks unless stalled city councilmembers come to an agreement on a moratorium.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

We’re here for this nonconformity inspiration captured in Lorimer Park. Thanks for sharing, @jasonbatesimagery.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout-out!

That’s interesting

  1. 🎶We talked to the slick-moving breakout star of that viral video of Philly voters dancing that spread far and wide on the internet’s wings of joy.

  2. 🏞️Architecture critic Inga Saffron writes that SEPTA’s new Wissahickon bus station is deeply flawed and could mar one of Philly’s most iconic landscapes.

  3. 👨‍🍳Philly chefs strip down to help Revivalist Gin raise money for hospitality-industry workers.

  4. 🥡From a modern-farmhouse haven to a new spot for Southwestern classics, these are 14 unmissable new Philly restaurants to try.

  5. 🎼Piffaro the Renaissance Band played outside “accompanied” by carillon tower bells for a very special digital season opener.

  6. 🎃Weights and medicine balls are fine, but all you need for this aerobic exercise is your pumpkin.


“If the officers who shot Walter Wallace Jr. indeed did nothing wrong according to police use of force protocol, then the state of policing is even more dire than we thought.” The Inquirer Editorial Board is calling for the release of the body camera footage from the police officers who killed Walter Wallace Jr.

  1. Columnist Helen Ubiñas writes that every day, cops show us they are “often incapable of seeing white men and women as a threat and incapable of treating Black men and women as anything but."

  2. Columnist Jenice Armstrong asks, “Had Wallace’s skin color been different, would the police response have been the same?”

What we’re reading

  1. Billy Penn introduces us to a Strawberry Mansion resident who is setting sail across North America on a vessel and chronicling it all on his YouTube vlog called “Float Jawn.” Next move: turning the boat into a drag show for queer people of color.

  2. Philly Mag lists spots to eat Laotian and Thai food in Philly now, from casual fare you can take home to the ultimate in fine dining.

  3. InsideHook looks into how Banksy manages to handle things when his art is stolen with something called “Pest Control.”

Your Daily Dose of | Generosity

The coronavirus made the computer access gap - and its inseparable link to worsening student achievement inequality - more glaring than ever. But here’s a powerful dose of encouragement. Earlier this month, when reporter Melanie Burney covered the situation for students in economically disadvantaged districts without computers to learn remotely, our readers responded by donating technology.

“The generosity of Inquirer readers to the plight of these sweet children has moved me to tears, which is not an easy feat,” Burney writes in her update.