University of Pennsylvania Political Science Department Statement on the Police Killing of Walter Wallace in West Philadelphia, on October 26, 2020

October 29, 2020 

Our political science department and community is deeply troubled by the killing of Walter Wallace Jr. at the hands of the Philadelphia Police on Monday October 26, 2020, in the 6100 block of Locust St, just three miles West of our departmental offices, in the West Philadelphia neighborhood where many of our faculty and students live. 

Mr. Walter Wallace Jr, was a 27-year old Black man. He was a son, a husband, and a father. As his mother told the police, he had mental health problems and was holding a knife when the police shot him in front of his house and as his mother was begging the police to de-escalate the conflict.

We look forward to having more information on the circumstances involving the case as the video camera footage of the two police officers involved becomes public, as well as more information from the Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney on this case.

However, as of this time, this police killing, taking place in our beloved neighborhood, and the lack of mental health first responders in our city, are deeply troubling to us. We look forward to working with our University and City administrations to avoid the preventable deaths of Black and Brown residents in Philadelphia and to undo structural racism in our city.    

 In the meantime, we send our sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Walter Wallace, Jr.