Loading the player…
Walter Wallace Jr. received mental health care at a crisis center three days before he was fatally shot by Philadelphia police officers.
Wallace Jr. regularly used the outpatient services at the West Philadelphia Consortium, a mental health crisis response center, and had recently resumed treatment, according to executive director John White, per Inquirer.com.
“His mother told me that when he came home Friday and she asked him how it went, he told her that he was doing much better and that we had gotten him ready to start looking for a job,” said White of Wallace Jr.’s last visit to the center.
But for whatever reason, Wallace became triggered and began to spiral out of control on that fateful night.
theGRIO previously reported, Wallace Jr. was having a mental health crisis when his mother called 911 for an ambulance. Two police officers responded. After he advanced toward them holding a knife, the officers shot the 27-year-old at least a dozen times.
White believes if the family or the police had called a crisis team from the center to the scene, Wallace Jr. might still be alive.
“We knew him and he knew us,” said White. “He trusted us and was appreciative of the help we provided. No one else on the scene could claim that credibility. … He didn’t know the police, he didn’t trust them.”
Three calls were reportedly made to 911 about Wallace’s concerning behavior on Monday, but his crisis team was never alerted.
“Do you realize how egregious this is?” said White, who previously served as a state representative, Pennsylvania’s secretary of welfare, and a city councilman.
“[The dispatchers] should have alerted us immediately,” he added. “You’re telling me they had three bites at the apple?”
It’s unclear why the family called 911 instead of the Consortium, but they have made clear that they do not want the officers who killed their loved one to be charged for his death.
“Here’s why: They were improperly trained,” family attorney Shaka Johnson told reporters at a press conference Thursday, “and did not have the proper equipment by which to effectuate their job.”
The comments came after the Wallace family watched police officers’ body camera footage of Monday’s shooting.The officers, who remain unidentified, were not carrying tasers. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has said that not all officers do, and says she has previously requested them.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!
Loading the player…