Murder charges likely unwarranted for PA cops -lawyer

Johnson made the comments after viewing the bodycam footage of Monday's incident, in which 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr. was gunned down by two officers responding to what his relatives say was a call for help with a mental health crisis.

Johnson said the footage shows one of the officers saying "shoot him" before they both fired at Wallace, who was not heeding their orders to drop a knife. He said the footage also showed Wallace dealing with an "obvious mental health crisis."

While saying he did not think the officers should face murder charges, Johnson added that he hoped the investigation into Wallace's death would lead to policing reforms to help prevent similar shootings in the future.

He noted that one of the officers was a "rookie" with less than two years on the force.

Video Transcript

SHAKA JOHNSON: I saw a person in obvious mental health crisis. My auditory senses heard people shouting, he's mental, he's mental. And when you're a police officer, you have to respond to these scenes with all of your faculties employed-- sight, hearing, et cetera. When someone is telling you that a person is experiencing a crisis, you can't just immediately go to your sidearm. And that's exactly what we observed.

And yes, I understand he had a knife. They said he had a knife. And I think that does not give you carte blanche to execute a man, quite frankly.

Those particular officers were only given a tool by which to assassinate, which is a service weapon chock full of ammunition but nothing in between. No taser, no less than lethal device that would have been so appropriate in this particular circumstance.

I don't think so. And here's why. They were improperly trained and did not have the proper equipment by which to effectuate their job. They didn't have it.