NOTE: I intended to return to more direct election coverage on Wednesday, but because of a number of developments that haven’t fully, um, developed as yet, I’ll resume that on Friday. For the time being, we visit the Walter Wallace Jr. shooting. You remember that one? World-changing, riot/looting-inspiring? On to the text:
With the shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr. by two Philadelphia police officers on 10-26-20, we see, once again, the fate Democrats/Socialists/Communists envision for us. Here’s CNN’s account:
Two Philadelphia police officers shot and killed a 27-year-old Black man holding a knife on Monday afternoon as his mother watched nearby. Protests in the city have raged in the nights since.
The police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., captured on cell phone video, is just the latest instance of police officers using violence against Black people, who are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement. And like after police violence in Minneapolis; in Kenosha, Wisconsin; and Louisville, Kentucky, frustrated and angry residents have lashed out against the powers that be in the form of protests and violence.
CNN is, of course, lying. Black people are not disproportionately “targeted” by the police, and they use “violence” against them in response to violent attacks on the police and others. We hire police officers and train them to use reasonably necessary violence on our behalf against violent criminals. We hire the police to use, lawfully, violence on our behalf. It should also never be forgotten black men commit crimes in numbers far out of proportion to their approximately something less than half of 13% of the population.
Police said the incident started with a 911 call about a man with a knife, CNN affiliate KYWreported. Officers who responded saw a man brandishing a knife and waving it erratically, Philadelphia Police Sgt. Eric Gripp told KYW.
JaHiem Simpson, who took video of the police shooting, told CNN there was some commotion and arguing before police were called.
Simpson said Wallace came out the house with a knife and everybody told him to put the weapon down. He said he saw officers pull their guns as soon as they saw the knife.
Simpson said a person who he later learned was Wallace’s mother told police that Wallace had mental health issues.
The video shows Wallace walking around a parked car into the street, and the two officers backing up as he walks toward them. The police then fire multiple times at Wallace.
Sgt. Gripp told KYW that an officer took Wallace in his police cruiser to Presbyterian Hospital, where he died.
Shaka Johnson, the lawyer for Wallace’s family, said that the family had made at least three calls to authorities that day. He said the initial call was for an ambulance, and Johnson and Wallace’s mother said that police were at the scene earlier in the day. [skip]
Wallace suffered from bipolar disorder and was in crisis during the time of the shooting, his family said.
Johnson said that Wallace was suffering and in a doctor’s care, and that he was receiving treatment for his mental health issues.
‘It’s emotionally taxing to think about how you can call for assistance and wind up with the people who you called killing you,’ he said.
‘Law enforcement was called because they wanted an ambulance to come here,’ he added. ‘The police are who arrived first.’
CNN inflames readers with overblown emotion:
Wallace and his wife, Dominique, were newlyweds, Johnson said. She is expecting to deliver a baby girl ‘any day now,’ Johnson said.
‘They were just trying to solidify their family,’ he said.
Wallace’s uncle Rodney Everett, 63, said his nephew was a ‘good-natured person.’
‘I’m just disappointed that his life ended like it has. I don’t think it’s right. I don’t think it’s right at all. I don’t think they did any justice,’ he said.
Before we continue, here’s a partial list of Wallace’s past offenses:
Wallace was a violent felon, and had been arrested for beating and threating his wife, which is perhaps how he was “solidifying their family.” Fox News provides additional information:
‘I would like to see justice done for what they did to my son,’ said Kathy Brant, mother of Walter Wallace Jr. [skip]
‘I saw a person in obvious mental health crisis,’ the Wallace family attorney, Shaka Johnson, told reporters. ‘My auditory senses heard people shouting, ‘He’s mental, he’s mental.’
Johnson said the family does not want the officer to face murder charges.
‘And here’s why, here’s why: They were improperly trained and did not have the proper equipment by which to effectuate their job,’ Johnson said.
‘I understand he had a knife, but that does not give you carte blanche to execute a man, quite frankly,’ Johnson said. ‘What other than death did you intend when you shoot a man — each officer — seven times apiece?’
The video shows ‘instant panic’ from officers whose training taught them only how to open fire, he said, noting he saw no viable attempt from officers to de-escalate the situation.
‘What you will not see is a man with a knife lunging at anyone that would qualify as a reason to assassinate him,’ Johnson said.
In August of 2020, I wrote “Mostly Peaceful Protestors” And Deadly Force, which discusses the legal criteria for the use of deadly force in detail. I recommend a visit to that article for anyone not familiar with those criteria prior to continuing. As always, please keep in mind I have only the information available to the public at large, including a video of the incident (available here). However, the video demonstrates clearly the officers had no choice, and were fully justified in their actions. Remember: the police do not have to be absolutely perfect such that there could not possibly be the slightest criticism of their choices under any circumstance. They do have to act reasonably. Their standard is what a reasonable police officer, given the same circumstances, would do. They have, in essence, a higher standard than citizens because of their experience and training.
The video begins after the officers have already arrived. Some people—I’ve no idea who, but they appear to know Wallace—are trying to talk sense to him, but as the video begins, rather than avoid conflict, he walks—fast—on the opposite side of a line of parked cars, toward the officers. Their handguns are drawn, and they are constantly telling him to stop and drop the knife. He does not, and cuts between two cars, turns toward and continues to come right at the officers. I cannot clearly see his face or hear what he is saying, but his body language is angry and aggressive, and wielding a knife, he is trying to close the distance between them.
The two officers are continually backing away. They obviously tried to use the parked vehicles as a barrier, but Wallace wouldn’t cooperate. They fired multiple rounds—I’ve seen a variety of estimates from 8-14 rounds—which stopped Wallace, causing him to fall to the ground. They were still backing up as they fired. I’ve no idea how many rounds struck Wallace, or if any missed. From the beginning of the video until Wallace is shot, only about six seconds elapse. From the time Wallace rounds the car and advances on the officers, only about two seconds elapse before they are forced to shoot.
The officers do not appear to be wearing Tasers, and apparently only about a third of Philadelphia PD officers are issued Tasers. Why only a third? Likely because they’re expensive, and so is the training required.
CNN is correct in that the officers almost immediately loaded Wallace into one of their vehicles and rushed him to the hospital.
But he was only armed with a knife! The officers had guns! Why didn’t they tase him or wrestle with him or something? Because the officers know something most people don’t know: Someone armed with a knife is deadly to a minimum of 21 feet, as practical experience demonstrates that even an average person with a knife can close 21 feet before they can be shot and/or stopped by a handgun-wielding victim. Practicing for this possibility is commonly known as the Tueller Drill. It is taught in every basic academy and revisited often thereafter. Officers are commonly amazed to discover how quickly that distance can be traversed, and a knife plunged into them or their throat cut. By all means take the link and read the related article, which is an interview of Dennis Tueller himself.
Every police officer is aware of this. During my police days, when I was younger and very fast indeed, I could complete a knife attack from as much as 40 feet—13.3 yards–and would have rarely been shot in the attack. The point is not that a knife-wielding attacker might absorb some bullets in an attack, but whether they are close enough to close the distance, regardless of what injuries they might sustain, and kill you. Even someone suffering a mortal wound will still have sufficient useful consciousness to cut your throat or plunge a knife into a vital organ so long as they have sufficient momentum. Officers wear bullet resistant vests, but they are not protection against knives. Unless it hits a metal trauma plate, a knife thrust will penetrate.
Knives are deadly weapons. They can kill people just as dead as firearms. The FBI’s 2016 Uniform Crime Report reveals knives were used in 1604 crimes. This number is surely low; most crimes are not reported.
Handguns are not Star Trek phasers that immediately disable or disintegrate bad guys with a single impact. A knife wielding attacker within 21 feet or more can easily kill you, even if you manage to get a bullet or two into him in the process.
In this case, the officers were desperately trying to deescalate. They had only about six seconds to do that. They tried to keep the vehicles between themselves and Wallace, but he chose otherwise. They continually ordered him to stop and drop the knife, but again, to no avail. When he rounded the car and advanced on them—fast—they had only about two seconds to act. They continued to back up, but Wallace was attacking. They fired when he was only about 10 feet away—easy lunging distance.
There is no question the attack was imminent—it was in process. There is no question Wallace was a threat of serious bodily injury or death. There is no question the officers had run out of options. Their duty required they act. They did not have the option to run away, though they did try to put as much distance as they could between themselves and Wallace, giving them more time to decide what to do and giving him time to back down–in other words, they were trying to deescalate. This leaves the criteria of reasonableness. Any reasonable officer would have done as they did.
What about Tasers? The officers apparently didn’t have that option, but even if they did, Tasers are unreliable. They work very well under SPOIT conditions—sober police officers in training—but in the real world, unless both barbs firmly embed in skin, no charge will be imparted. Clothing can easily foil Tasers, and even under ideal circumstances, some people are not affected. Remember, Wallace was advancing on the officers, fast, and ignoring their commands. They didn’t have time, and they were facing an imminent deadly threat. Using “less lethal” methods, even if they had that option, would be unreasonable, even negligent. D/S/Cs and their anarchist thugs expect officers to surrender and die at the hands of criminals, but normal Americans do not.
Keep in mind it is entirely possible Wallace was trying to commit “suicide by cop.” He was apparently mentally ill, but the officers likely had no way to know that, and even if they did, it would make no difference. A crazy person can kill just as easily as a sane one.
But they shot him X number of times! They didn’t have to shoot him X number of times! When anyone—police officer or not—has the legal justification to shoot, they may fire as many rounds as necessary to stop the attack. If that takes a single round, great, but if it takes 20, that is not excessive force. That is the force necessary to stop the attack in that situation. The reason they fire is to immediately stop the imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death. Should they continue to fire after the threat has obviously ended, that would be excessive force, but that was clearly not the case here. Keep in mind too, handgun ammunition is not powerful. Absent a shot to the brainstem—exceedingly rare—a single round is unlikely to immediately stop a deadly threat. There are well documented cases of criminals taking 20 or more bullets before stopping–and surviving(!).
Philadelphia’s D/S/C DA, Larry Krasner, is as soft on crime as one might imagine a big city DA being. He recently threatened President Trump over poll watchers! It is likely he’ll indict the officers, but if he does, it will have nothing to do with the law. It will be a social justice persecution.
This—lawfully shooting a violent black felon–is going to be any police officer’s worst nightmare, and more so because they work in a D/S/C ruled city, where insanity rules:
Philadelphia City Council on Thursday [10-29-20] approved a prohibition on the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray against demonstrators exercising their First Amendment rights.
The legislation passed, 14-3, after a heated debate about the meaning of peaceful assembly and disturbance, and the history of police brutality against Black people. Republican Councilmembers David Oh and Brian J. O’Neill, along with Democrat Bobby Henon, voted against it.
In banning the most effective less lethal means of crowd control, the Philadelphia City Council has reduced officers to using lethal means. This will surely cause officers to avoid any contact with violent criminals, and when forced to act, to use deadly force, which will give anarchists and criminals license for more riot and looting, which will continue the cycle. One might be forgiven for thinking this kind of chaos is precisely what D/S/Cs want. They’ll blame the police for escalating violence, and use that as a pretext for banning the police.
In the meantime, two police officers, responding to a call for help, apparently acted entirely within the law and reasonable law enforcement training. For that, their lives and careers will surely be irreparably damaged, and the citizens of Philadelphia, particularly Black citizens, will be the worse for it.