MCAAM Statement on the Killing of Walter Wallace, Jr. and Needed Police Reforms
The Mayor’s Commission on African-American Males (MCAAM) expresses its deepest and sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr. Walter Wallace, Jr. MCAAM also reiterates the family’s wishes that protests held in his name be conducted non-violently and focus on healing and uplifting Mr. Wallace’s community. MCAAM stands in solidarity with those who are raising their voices for the local businesses that have suffered damage and loss as a result of the protests and strongly denounces the destruction and looting that occurred:
“MCAAM is heartbroken by Mr. Wallace’s killing and is dismayed to issue yet another statement regarding police brutality. The tragic police shooting of Walter Wallace, Jr. on October 26 is yet another example of the disregard for the humanity of Black people being practiced by police officers who are sworn to protect and serve all of us. Mr. Wallace’s shooting and subsequent death was avoidable and shines a light on how Black neighborhoods consistently suffer at the hand of the police and the justice system.
“As we await more information on this tragic incident, MCAAM requests the following immediate actions by the City of Philadelphia:
- Continued and consistent deployment of trauma-based counselors in the 6100 Locust neighborhood, as the entire neighborhood is suffering from trauma at this time.
- Given that a considerable percentage of 911 calls nationally are for mental health crises and domestic violence incidents, institute a public awareness campaign informing Philadelphia residents of the option to request mental health service personnel in lieu of police presence for domestic violence and mental health crisis situations.
- The passage of legislation, including funding, to empower social workers and/or mental health professionals to answer mental health crisis calls starting immediately. Unless there is a clear threat to public safety, police officers should not be dispatched in these situations. These mental health professionals should work in tandem with police officers to deal with citizens suffering from mental health episodes.
- Appointment of The Pennsylvania State Attorney General’s Office as the sole governmental entity to investigate and prosecute all police shootings in the city of Philadelphia that result in death.
- The passage of legislation that bans law enforcement officers from using deadly force unless in the most extreme circumstances and only after all other reasonable nonlethal measures have been taken.
“Beyond the policy recommendations above, it is well-past the time for an honest dialogue about the role of the police in our communities. It is clear that the system of policing Black people and communities is broken and needs to be totally reimagined.”