PHILADELPHIA — The Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities released the following statement in the wake of the fatal shooting of Walter Wallace, Jr. by the Philadelphia Police Department:
“The Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities expresses its deepest sympathies to the family of Walter Wallace, Jr and to all those who knew him.
“Like Mr. Wallace, approximately 16 percent of Philadelphians identify as having a disability. Moreover, we know that in America a disproportionate number of people with disabilities have reported experiencing police violence. As the City reviews this tragedy, our Commission affirms that not only do Black Lives Matter— but Black disabled lives matter, too.
“We must do more to address the negative stereotypes around mental illness and intellectual disabilities, decriminalize disability-related behavior, and enhance supports across the lifespan to disrupt the preschool to prison pipeline for people with disabilities. We also recognize the need to convene a broader group of stakeholders to share their stories and to help inform criminal justice reform in Philadelphia.
“The Commission looks forward to working with internal and external stakeholders now and in the future to ensure that disability justice is central to addressing the disproportionate amount of people of color with mental illness and intellectual disabilities unfairly trapped in the city’s criminal justice system.”