Walter Wallace: Philadelphia braces for unrest as curfew declared
Philadelphia will impose a citywide curfew starting Wednesday at 9pm (02:00 GMT) as the city seeks to quell the looting and violence that marred two nights of protests against the police killing of a Black man who was under mental duress, the mayor’s office said on Wednesday.
The office of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement the curfew would run through Thursday at 6am.
Tension has gripped the streets of the city in the eastern United States since Monday’s deadly police shooting of Walter Wallace, 27, who was armed with a knife and described by relatives as suffering from a mental breakdown, in a confrontation with law enforcement.
Police said Wallace was wielding a knife and ignored orders to drop the weapon before officers fired shots on Monday afternoon. But his family’s lawyer said the family had called for an ambulance to get him help to deal with a mental health crisis. His parents said Tuesday that officers knew their son was in a mental health crisis because they had been to the family’s house three times on Monday.
Hundreds of marchers demanded racial justice – largely peacefully – with some jeering and skirmishing with police through Tuesday night and into early Wednesday, as Philadelphia became the latest flashpoint in the US on issues of race and police use of force just days before Tuesday’s presidential election.
US President Donald Trump was asked Wednesday about the violence while speaking in Las Vegas during a campaign swing through Nevada and Arizona. Authorities in Philadelphia say Wallace, a Black man, ignored orders to drop a knife, while his family says he was experiencing a mental health crisis.