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Walter Wallace Jr.’s legacy and Philly policing | Morning Newsletter

And the SEPTA strike has been averted.

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Good morning and Happy Friday. The city agreed yesterday to a $2.5 million settlement with the family of Walter Wallace Jr., whose death last year at the hands of police sparked national outrage and raised big questions about policing and mental health.

As part of their lawsuit, Wallace’s family implored Philly police to consider broad reforms, specifically the use of nonlethal weapons in certain cases. And on Wednesday, the anniversary of Wallace’s death, police announced every officer will be equipped with Tasers, giving cops another option besides deadly force.

None of this brings Walter Wallace Jr. back to the ones who loved him most. Through these reforms, he’s given us something important that will live on.

Send your thoughts my way at

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr

Our reporter Mensah M. Dean has been covering the fight for police reform that Walter Wallace Jr.’s family led after his killing. Mensah was at yesterday’s settlement proceedings and caught up with me for this poignant takeaway:

“Wallace’s father, the family’s lawyers, and City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier all noted that the most significant part of the settlement was the city’s agreement to provide Tasers to all patrol officers. They agreed that would save lives, and that is a key part of his legacy.”

Walter Wallace Jr., who goes by the same name as his son, told Mensah:

“If this situation can save anybody’s life, out of so many thousands of lives, I think we accomplished something.”

Mensah has more here.

As mask debates continue to rage around the region, it’s become a free-for-all in many schools. Despite state mandates, there are area schools with relaxed policies on mask-wearing, with some not pressing students to wear them at all.

“It’s completely unfair that we can’t go to school and learn and be safe,” said Lily Beard, a freshman at Council Rock South High School, one of a handful of Bucks County districts where masks have been the center of controversy.

“I think it has to do with the political climate in a community,” said Jim Crisfeld, superintendent in the Wissahickon School District. “It doesn’t have to do with the schools.”

Our reporter Maddie Hanna has more on this story.

What you should know today

  1. SEPTA and its largest union have agreed on a new contract, averting a damaging strike that would have shut down Philadelphia’s public transit system as it struggles to recover from a steep drop in ridership driven by the pandemic.

  2. Another major storm is heading Philly’s way, but forecasters say it won’t ruin your Halloween.

  3. City Council passed legislation allowing the city to complete urgent property repairs and bill the owners for the work.

  4. Wednesday it was windows. Yesterday, prosecutors in the federal trial of labor leader John Dougherty and Councilmember Bobby Henon focused on favors allegedly in exchange for Eagles tickets.

  5. It’s been decades since New Jersey reelected a Democratic governor. Phil Murphy is confident he’ll break that trend.

  6. And some of you asked for it, so we’re bringing back this daily look at coronavirus numbers from around the region.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Want to take a guess at what Philly neighborhood this awesome shot from @westofbroad hails from? Send a reply our way or send us your own pic using the hashtag #OurPhilly.

That’s interesting

🎒 The Philadelphia School District will pay residents to help students get to and from school safely amid the city’s gun violence epidemic.

🍹 Where do Philly bartenders go when they’re looking for a good cocktail? They told us.

🎭 Philly Fringe legend Gunnar Montana’s offering for this year’s festival was so good they’ve extended the jawn.


“On Tuesday, issues as important as academic freedom and whether the truth still has currency in our public schools will be on the ballot in many jurisdictions. There’s no such thing as an ‘off-year election,’” writes our columnist Will Bunch, who examines how school curricula are increasingly caught in political cross fire.

  1. A pair of restaurant owners face off in an interesting look at both sides of the cocktails-to-go debate.

  2. The fact that we have to talk about lead poisoning in children as a social justice issue in 2021 is mind-blowing, but here we are.

What we’re …

  1. Excited about: The Inquirer’s all-new Eagles Gameday Central. It’s our gift to Birds fans looking for a little context and to have their voice heard before, during, and after every Eagles game. ☝🏾

  2. Applauding: Union captain Alejandro Bedoya for calling out the team for dropping the ball (pun intended) against lesser teams ahead of the MLS Playoffs.

  3. Reading: This journal by Afghan refugee Hili Chakhansuri, who shares what it’s like living on a military base in New Jersey after fleeing the only home she’s ever known.

Photo of the day

Enjoy your weekend, everyone. Catch you Monday. ✌️