A Black man armed with a knife was shot dead by two police officers in Philadelphia on Monday after he allegedly disregarded repeated commands to drop his weapon and continued to advance toward them.
According to Fox News, the fatal shooting of 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr. sparked anti-police protests, violent clashes between demonstrators and officers, and riots and looting.
Unrest in Philadelphia
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said Tuesday that 91 arrests had been made over the course of the unrest Monday night. Eleven of those individuals were charged with assaulting a police officer, 76 are facing charges for commercial burglary and looting, and 3 have been charged with failure to disperse, according to Fox.
Eight Philadelphia police vehicles were vandalized, including one completely destroyed by fire, as well as a fire department medic truck. According to the Wall Street Journal, more than 50 officers were injured in the clashes with rioters, including a 58-year-old female sergeant who had her leg broken when she was reportedly deliberately run over by a pick-up truck.
Despite the deployment of Pennsylvania National Guard troops to help protect property and supplement the local police, the unrest continued for a second night on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Official numbers on Tuesday night’s protests have not yet been released, but the police department indicated that more arrests had been made, more looting had occurred — this time in other parts of the city instead of just where the fatal incident had occurred — and more officers have been injured in clashes with rioters.
Riots in NYC
Riots and looting broke out in Brooklyn on Tuesday night as well, ostensibly inspired by the riots in Philadelphia, as New York’s WNBC reported.
Those demonstrations resulted in 27 people being arrested for a variety of charges ranging from assaulting a police officer, disorderly conduct and vandalism. At least 40 commercial properties were damaged — some looted — and at least nine police vehicles were vandalized, along with minor injuries to at least five officers.
Some of those minor injuries came by way of a car that purposefully drove directly through a line of officers blocking off a street, though it’s currently unclear if the car was driven by one of the rioters or just someone who was passing through the area.
An investigation to come
As for Wallace himself, the 27-year-old was an aspiring rapper, Fox News reported.
He also had a criminal history, including assault, assault on a police officer, robbery, and threatening to shoot someone — charges for which he had previously served time or was awaiting trial.
There will certainly be a full investigation of the actions taken by the officers to determine if the shooting was justified or not — but regardless, there remains no excuse for people in Philadelphia, much less in New York City, to take to the streets in violent protest against the police or engage in looting. It’s causing more problems than it solves.