Philadelphia, PA – The family of the knife-wielding man who was fatally shot by Philadelphia police on Monday said they do not want the officers to be charged with murder, but that didn’t stop rioters from wreaking havoc in multiple cities across the country for the third consecutive night.
Shaka Johnson, the attorney representing the family of 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr., told reporters on Thursday that the family is not calling for the officers to be charged with murder, WPVI reported.
“Here’s why,” Johnson explained. “They were improperly trained and did not have the proper equipment by which to effectuate their job.”
Johnson said that he and Wallace’s family watched bodycam footage of the officers’ Oct. 26 encounter with Wallace on Thursday, WPVI reported.
“I saw a person in obvious mental health crisis,” he told reporters. “My auditory senses heard people shouting, ‘He’s mental, he’s mental.’”
District Attorney Larry Krasner and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a joint statement that they are resolving certain matters with the Wallace family and hope to release the 911 audio files and bodycam footage by late next week, WPVI reported.
Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President John McNesby said that the cell phone video showed Wallace lunging at the officers with the knife just before the fatal shooting.
“I mean, there’s not much to this,” McNesby told WPVI. “Wallace had a knife, he was lunging at the officers and, unfortunately, they had to fire.”
But Johnson claimed that the bodycam footage – which McNesby has not seen – did not show Wallace “lunging at police.”
The press conference was held the same afternoon the Philadelphia city council voted to ban police use of less-lethal weapons including tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets.
The bill will move forward to Mayor Jim Kenney to sign into law.
Videos on social media showed dozens of Pennsylvania state troopers boarding busses as they deployed throughout the city to aid local police on Thursday night.
Dozens of Pennsylvania State Troopers are currently boarding SEPTA transit busses to deploy throughout the City of Philadelphia right now.
Credit: Steve Keeleypic.twitter.com/R7E3GBq2hI
— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) October 30, 2020
Officers brawled with rioters at various points throughout the night, but it is unclear whether or not any law enforcement officers were injured or how many suspects were arrested.
Hours earlier, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that two suspects had been arrested in connection with a van filled with “numerous illegal explosives,” according to a press release.
Officers were responding to a report of a commercial burglary alarm on Wednesday evening when they spotted between 10 and 15 vehicles “staged” in the City Avenue Marriot parking lot, according to Shapiro.
The entire convoy took off as police arrived, leading to a pursuit.
“Officers pursued the fleeing convoy of vehicles after they first attempted to unsuccessfully ram a Target parking lot barricade at 4000 Monument Road,” Shapiro said.
The pursuit continued onto Interstate 76 towards Center City before the vehicles proceeded onto the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
“One of the vehicles, a conversion van, pulled over and the driver removed tape that had been covering the license plate,” Shapiro said. “Officers then stopped the vehicle at 18th and the Parkway and the suspects were removed from the van.”
Investigators discovered that the driver, Brian Larue, and the passenger, Eric Murray, were transporting an array of illegal explosives, including a handheld propane tank torch and “quarter or half sticks of dynamite,” Shapiro said.
Police also allegedly found a Taser, bolt cutters, machetes, and electric drills inside the van, among other items.
“The explosives and tools recovered in the van are commonly used to attempt to dismantle and steal proceeds from ATMS,” Shapiro noted. “There have been at least thirty ATM bombings in Philadelphia in the last four days.”
Larue and Murray have been charged with risking a catastrophe, conspiracy, possession of weapons of mass destruction, and multiple misdemeanor offenses.
In additions to concerns about exploding ATMs and widespread violence, Philadelphia residents and business owners have also been dealing with mass looting throughout the city.
Rioters have smashed out the windows of a countless number of stores, leaving some of them picked clean of merchandise.
Rich Ost, who has owned a pharmacy on Lehigh Avenue in Kensington for the past 37 years, said he watched on his security feed from home as approximately 10 rioters broke through his security gate and forced their way into his business early Wednesday morning, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
He called 911, but the dispatcher told him that hundreds of rioters were tearing up stores all over the city, and that he should stay away from his business for his own safety, Ost said.
“It’s great advice, but it’s the last thing you want to hear as a business owner,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday.
Ost said he and his wife watched the live feed as looters came and went from his business all night long.
Approximately 80 percent of his inventory was gone by morning, he told The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Business owners in Washington, DC have been boarding up their storefronts in anticipation of the Nov. 3 election.
Luxury shops in DC are boarding up in anticipation of the election. pic.twitter.com/3VMVkvoMsG
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) October 29, 2020
Fourteen DC Metro police officers were injured and 12 were hospitalized on Wednesday night, including some who potentially suffered “career-ending injuries,” The DC Police Union tweeted on Thursday.
A reminder that 12 officers were hospitalized last night, some with possible career ending injuries, and @charlesallen (the chair of the judiciary committee) has yet to show one iota of condolence or concern. https://t.co/hbThhCNoWH
— DC Police Union (@DCPoliceUnion) October 30, 2020
The variety of injuries the officers suffered included “loss of eyesight due to laser exposure, blown eardrums and blast injuries from large fireworks, and concussions from thrown rocks,” the union said in a press release on Thursday evening.
DC Police Union Chairman Gregg Pemberton said that the city “is now refusing to allow officers to wear protective helmets, allowing rioters to fire deadly explosives at officers, and failing to make arrests of violators of the law.”
“Due to the actions of people like Councilmember Charles Allen, MPD has been forced to handle these violent disturbances in a passive, and frankly, unsafe manner, causing significant risk and injuries to our members,” Pemberton added.
The city’s new policies are also endangering the community by pulling officers from patrol, he said.
“This exposes our neighborhoods to violence and exposes local businesses to destruction and looting,” the chairman wrote.
The rioting has cost taxpayers at least $43 million in police overtime costs so far.
More visible Bike Cops (50ish) & other cops (50ish) than protesters. In other news, Mayor Bowser is seeking to bleed $43 million of other resources to pay for police OT. https://t.co/UI90ZbZPl4#DCProtests for #KaronHylton pic.twitter.com/Z1X2Q67r5w
— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) October 30, 2020
The mayhem continued on the other side of the country, where Portland rioters burned Thin Blue Line and American flags on Thursday night, videos showed.
— Kitty Shackleford (@KittyLists) October 30, 2020
One video showed a rioter yelling at Clark County deputies in Washington state.
“You! Standing acting all whacky!” the man yelled. “Yeah you, you dumbf—k!…You’re a b—h. Put the gun down. Come on, let’s rock, dude. I’m calling you out!”
— Kitty Shackleford (@KittyLists) October 30, 2020
Business owners in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and downtown Los Angeles have also been boarding up their stores ahead of the election, according to reports on social media.
Rioters in Stockton chased down vehicles, blocked traffic, and harassed drivers for several hours on Thursday night, videos showed.
Someone flying a large flag and driving a truck revs their engine at demonstrators. The #BLM group is now in the middle of the intersection at Benjamin/Pacific, Stockton. Traffic held in both directions by @StocktonPolice. pic.twitter.com/JpDHn91mRD
— Stephanie Lin (@StephanieLinTV) October 30, 2020
— Ron Bassilian (@Ron4California) October 30, 2020
The crowd dispersed at approximately 8 p.m., KCRA reported.