Statement on police shooting death of Walter Wallace, Jr.

The death of Walter Wallace, Jr. is not only a tragedy and a failure of our criminal justice system, but an indictment of our lack of access to mental health services and treatment. I offer my most sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.

I join other elected officials in calling for a thorough investigation into the death of Walter Wallace, Jr. and the events leading up to his death. I also continue to call for further use of de-escalation techniques instead of lethal force and to demand that police officers are not the only first responders present when mental health issues arise.

I have been in constant communication with local and state officials as well as the police department. While the investigation into the full scope of what happened on Monday, Oct. 26 is underway, we are asking that the people of Philadelphia act to facilitate justice and not add to the heavy sorrow Mr. Wallace's family is experiencing.

Peaceful protest should never be discouraged, but the violence, looting and destruction of our communities along the Riverwards these past two evenings has nothing to do with demanding justice for Walter Wallace, Jr. and his family. We must honor his family’s calls to stop the chaos.

I know that communities are in pain, as yet another black man’s life was lost right in our own City and calls across the country for justice have still gone unanswered. We must join together and continue to fight for sweeping reforms so that this never happens again. Let us not be distracted by looters and acts meant to divide and discourage us.