The Trump administration is “prepared to deploy” federal agents to Philadelphia in response to overnight riots and protests after a black man allegedly armed with a knife was fatally shot by police, said White House communications director Alyssa Farah.
“We’re monitoring the situation closely. If necessary, we’ll be standing by and prepared to deploy federal resources, if necessary,” Farah told Fox News on Tuesday. “President Trump will not tolerate any violence directed at America’s law enforcement. And, look, the actual case, we’re going to let the facts play out, let the investigation play out, but we will not tolerate lawlessness in our streets.”
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said in a Tuesday news conference that at least 30 officers were injured, including one who was hospitalized, and about 90 people were arrested during the night of unrest. It came after hundreds of people demonstrated after the Monday shooting death of 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr.
Photos and video footage showed that at least one police vehicle was set on fire.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, in a statement, said an investigation into the shooting is underway.
“We intend to go where the facts and law lead us and to do so carefully, without rushing to judgment and without bias of any kind,” he said, adding, “In the hours and days following this shooting, we ask Philadelphians to come together to uphold people’s freedom to express themselves peacefully and to reject violence of any kind.”
Outlaw said a 56-year-old female police sergeant was hospitalized and is in stable condition with a broken leg and other injuries after she was “intentionally run over” by a pickup truck driver.
Police said the incident that led up to Wallace’s death started with a call about a suspect armed with a knife, Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Gripp told KYW-TV.
“Responding officers witnessed a male on the block. Immediately they noticed he had a knife in his possession and he was brandishing it, and waiving it erratically,” he said.
A video that was uploaded online appeared to show the final moments of the incident. The entire encounter was not recorded. Wallace is seen walking around parked vehicles, crossing into the street at one point.
Later, Wallace is seen walking around a parked car, and two officers are seen backing up with their firearms drawn. Wallace is seen walking toward them. Multiple shots are then heard as officers fire at the suspect, hitting him several times, according to the footage.
His father, Walter Wallace Sr., asked why officers used deadly force in the incident. “Why didn’t they use a Taser?” he said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “His mother was trying to defuse the situation.”
However, an analysis that was released several years ago showed that Tasers often don’t work. A Los Angeles Times review of department statements and reports in 2016, for example, showed that about a fourth of people shot by on-duty officers in 2015 were hit by Tasers without success.