Earlier this week, Wallace Jr. was shot and killed by police officers in front of his family. Two officers arrived at the scene on Monday afternoon at nearly 4 p.m. After arriving, video shows the two cops asking Wallace Jr. to put down a knife they believe he was holding. Moments later, cops fired multiple times, killing him in front of his mother and brother.
Members of the Wallace family say that the 27-year-old had struggled with bipolar disorder and was taking medication for his condition. As a result, the Wallace family claims that they called the authorities three times on Monday to request medical assistance. However, police officers appeared on the scene instead.
“When you come to a scene where somebody is in a mental crisis, and the only tool you have to deal with it is a gun...where are the proper tools for the job?” the Wallace family's attorney Shaka Johnson asked.
Philadelphia Police Commander Danielle Outlaw added that the city does not currently have a unit trained to help in instances where someone is struggling with mental health.
“We don’t have a behavioral health unit, which is sorely needed,” Outlaw said.
Behavioral health units are sorely needed in police departments across the country. The National Alliance Mental Health has found that one in five adults in the United States struggle with mental health issues. Furthermore, academics with the American Psychological Association found that Black men are more likely to experience mental health issues due to societal factors. Unfortunately, mental health units are rare within police departments.
"Law enforcement officers often express reservations regarding the lack of training and resources devoted to the engagement and treatment of people with mental illness and addictive disorders. As of 1999, a majority of U.S. police departments in cities with populations over 100,000 did not have any specialized strategies to deal with behavioral health crises," Mental Health America stated.
The 911 tapes and footage will be released in the near future after they are shared with the Wallace family.
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