Philadelphia announces a curfew after two nights of unrest following Walter Wallace killing

Harriet Alexander
·2 min read
Protesters in Philadelphia burn a barricade on Tuesday night after the killing of Walter Wallace (AFP via Getty Images)
Protesters in Philadelphia burn a barricade on Tuesday night after the killing of Walter Wallace (AFP via Getty Images)

Philadelphia authorities have announced a curfew across the city for Wednesday night, following two nights of unrest after the killing of a Black man by police.

Walter Wallace, 27, was shot and killed on Monday afternoon, in front of his mother and brother. They had told police he was mentally ill and having an episode, but officers, knowing he had a knife, shot him dead.

Anger at his death sparked protests, which on Monday night spiralled into riots and looting.

Philadelphia police say 53 officers were injured, including a female officer who had her leg broken when she was run over by a car, and 172 arrests made.

Further arrests were made on Tuesday night.

“A large crowd of appx 1,000 is looting businesses in the area of Castor and Aramingo. Avoid the area,” police tweeted at 8:27pm on Tuesday.

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The curfew will come into effect at 9pm on Wednesday and run until 6am on Thursday. A similar curfew was enforced in Philadelphia following the 25 May killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

On Wednesday morning police said 81 people were arrested from Tuesday night into early Wednesday.

In addition, they said, 23 law enforcement officers suffered minor injuries, nine police vehicles were damaged, and nine ATMs were exploded across the city.

The department also updated its totals for Monday night into Tuesday, noting that in all 172 people were arrested for felony and misdemeanor offenses on that first night and early morning of unrest. 

A total of 53 officers were injuried during that period, they said, with 52 suffering minor injuries and one remaining hospitalized with a broken leg after being intentionally struck by a truck.

The individual who struck the officer has been charged with a dozen serious offenses, District Attorney Larry Kranser said Wednesday, and is being held on nearly $1,000,000 bail.

The first night, 17 police and fire vehicles were damaged, as well, the police said.

Wallace’s family is pleading for the unrest to end.

A looted Walmart in Philadelphia is pictured on WednesdayAP
A looted Walmart in Philadelphia is pictured on WednesdayAP
A police officer is pictured on Tuesday night splattered with a red substanceAP
A police officer is pictured on Tuesday night splattered with a red substanceAP

“Have respect for my family and my son and stop this violence and chaos that’s going on in the city,” Walter Wallace Sr. said Tuesday.

Wallace’s mother, Cathy Wallace, recounted the seconds before the shooting.

“I was telling the police to stop. ‘Don’t shoot my son. Please don’t shoot my son,’” she recalled.

Shaka Johnson, a lawyer for the family, said the Wallaces had called three times to the house, and a final call was made for medics, because Wallace was clearly unwell.

“The man was suffering. He was on doctor’s care," she said. 

"He was on a regiment of lithium, etc., and the police were here earlier that day.

“The ambulance never made it."