PHILADELPHIA (NewsNation Now) — Philadelphia police body camera footage and 911 calls in the fatal shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. are expected to be released Wednesday.
The city’s mayor, district attorney and police commissioner announced last week that they plan to release the video and audio evidence by the close of business on Nov. 4, the day after the presidential election.
“Philadelphians are experiencing an immense amount of pain, and significant unrest persists throughout the entire city,” the city leaders said in a joint statement last week. “The collective hope of our local government and the Wallace family is that releasing the recordings on November 4 will provide enough time to calm tensions and for the recordings to be released in the most constructive manner possible.”
Philadelphia police said officers fatally shot Wallace last month after he ignored orders to drop a knife.
Wallace’s mother said she warned police that her son was experiencing a mental health crisis several hours before he was killed. Catherine Wallace said officers knew of the crisis because they had been to the family’s home three times that day.
The family’s attorney, Shaka Johnson, said Wallace’s brother had called 911 to request medical assistance and an ambulance.
In the days after fatal shooting, Philadelphia’s police commissioner acknowledged that her department lacks a mental health unit or consisted way to coordinate police calls with specialists.
“We don’t have a behavioral health unit, which is sorely needed,” Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said.
Wallace’s death prompted protests in several cities across the country, and even led Pennsylvania’s governor to call in the state’s National Guard.
Police had already shared the body camera footage with Wallace’s relatives last week, according to their family attorney Shaka Johnson.
Johnson said the footage shows Wallace emerging from a house with a knife as relatives shouted at officers about his mental health condition.
According to Johnson, the video also shows Wallace incapacitated after the first shot of more than a dozen that two officers reportedly fired at him.
“I understand he had a knife, but that does not give you carte blanche to execute a man, quite frankly,” Johnson told reporters at a news conference outside Philadelphia City Hall. “What other than death did you intend when you shoot a man — each officer — seven times apiece?”
He said the video doesn’t show Wallace ever lunging at anyone, nor any attempt from police to deescalate the situation.
Johnson said the family doesn’t want the officers to be charged with murder because they weren’t properly trained and didn’t have the right equipment to do their job.
The officers involved in the shooting have not yet been publicly identified. They have been taken off street duty as the investigation remains underway.
The anticipated release of the body camera footage comes as the nation watches Pennsylvania, a key state in the increasingly narrow presidential election.
Pennsylvania, which carries 20 electoral votes, is still counting ballots. It remains one of a handful of states that still haven’t been called Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.