McClinton responds to release of video showing Wallace's death during police-involved shooting
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 4 - State Rep. Joanna McClinton issued the following statement today after the Philadelphia Police Department released body cam video and 911 audio of the deadly officer-involved shooting of Walter Wallace Jr.
"Brutal, disturbing, traumatic and tragic don't even begin to describe the emotions I'm feeling right now after watching the video showing the final moments of Walter Wallace Jr.’s life – a young Black man whose cries for help ended with his untimely death as his entire family watched helplessly. This painful heartbreak is further proof of the systemic racism that permeates law enforcement and the oppression that continues crippling our communities of color.
"Police are supposed to protect us in times of need and should be equipped to de-escalate situations while carrying out their commitment to preserve human life. The cries heard on this footage from his mother and wife are the cries for real police reform that is needed urgently in this city.
"While we're still coming to grips with another life cut far too short, the fact Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw agreed to release this body cam footage - which is a first in the department's history - along with the new training being implemented for officers and 911 dispatchers shows a willingness by law enforcement to take steps towards preventing similar tragedies in the future and moving towards change that's needed now more than ever.
"Still, this must be just one of many steps that moves us toward change and justice. Going forward, our priorities must be to ensure mental health services are accessible and available to those who need it, especially in times of crisis, while connecting police officers with non-lethal weapons, and the proper de-escalation training - all things that could have prevented Wallace's death. Finally, this is the moment for reconciliation with the Philadelphia Police Department and greater Cobbs Creek community.
"I will be working with and listening to my neighbors for their suggestions to ensure our police are responding to the true needs of the community," said McClinton, D-Phila/Delaware.