National Guard arrives in Philadelphia after days of unrest

The mission is to help quell the violence that began after the shooting of Walter Wallace Jr on Monday.

Philadelphia Police Shooting
Philadelphia Police Shooting

The Pennsylvania National Guard has arrived in Philadelphia after days of protests, store break-ins and ATM thefts after a black man holding a knife was shot at 14 times by police, killing him.

The troops are set to remain in the city through next week, officials said. Their mission is to help quell the unrest that began after the death of Walter Wallace Jr on Monday.

The mayor’s office said the city requested that the troops help with “the current situation and election preparation”.

The shooting led the mayor to lock down the city with an overnight curfew that was later rescinded. There were no large-scale protest during the last two nights, and it is not clear if the city is considering additional curfews or restrictions in the coming days.

Philadelphia Police Shooting
National Guard troops in front of the Philadelphia Municipal Services Building (Jose F Moreno/Philadelphia Inquirer/AP)

Mr Wallace’s family called on Monday for medical services and police, but only the latter arrived, the family’s lawyer Shaka Johnson said. Less than 30 seconds into the encounter, he was dead, felled by a blast of 14 bullets, he added.

Police have said the two officers fired after Mr Wallace ignored orders to drop a knife. His mother and wife were outside, shouting to police about his mental health problems, Mr Johnson said.

A wake and funeral has been scheduled for November 7, Mr Johnson added.

Footage from body-worn cameras shows Mr Wallace became incapacitated after the first shot, Mr Johnson said, describing footage he said police showed him and members of Mr Wallace’s family before a plan to release it and 911 calls publicly.

The family does not want the officers, who have not yet been publicly identified, to be charged with murder, Mr Johnson said, because they were improperly trained and did not have the right equipment to do their job.

The video shows “instant panic” from officers whose training taught them only how to open fire, he said, noting he saw no viable attempt by officers to de-escalate the situation.

The mayor’s office has said the bodycam footage and the 911 audio will be released publicly by the end of next week.

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