Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president, and his running mate, U.S Sen. Kamala Harris reacted with "shock and grief ... especially for a community that has already endured so much trauma" over the fatal shooting of a Black man in West Philadelphia late Monday by two police officers.
The killing of Walter Wallace Jr., who police have alleged was carrying a knife, by two officers ignited hours of violent unrest and looting in Philadelphia.
"Our hearts are broken for the family of Walter Wallace Jr., and for all those suffering the emotional weight of learning about another Black life in America lost. We cannot accept that in this country a mental health crisis ends in death," Biden and Harris said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "It makes the shock and grief and violence of yesterday’s shooting that much more painful, especially for a community that has already endured so much trauma. Walter Wallace’s life, like too many others’, was a Black life that mattered."
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Police have provided few details to why the officers unloaded roughly a dozen bullets at Wallace near Locust and 61st streets.
Family and neighbors around Locust and 61st streets watched Monday night as officers opened fire, and Wallace's mother even could be seen trying to restrain her son moments before the shooting.
The incident, which was captured on video and spread through social media, sparked protests and renewed calls for justice from activists and City Council members. As the night wore on, that devolved into looting and vandalism in West Philadelphia, particularly along 52nd Street.
Looting and vandalism also broke out in Philly in May and June, following peaceful protests after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
"No amount of anger at the very real injustices in our society excuses violence. Attacking police officers and vandalizing small businesses, which are already struggling during a pandemic, does not bend the moral arc of the universe closer to justice. It hurts our fellow citizens. Looting is not a protest, it is a crime. It draws attention away from the real tragedy of a life cut short," Biden and Harris said in their statement. "As a nation, we are strong enough to both meet the challenges of real police reform, including implementing a national use of force standard, and to maintain peace and security in our communities. That must be our American mission. That is how we will deliver real justice. All Donald Trump does is fan the flames of division in our society. He is incapable of doing the real work to bring people together. We will."
President Trump's campaign did not release any statement on Wallace's death as of Tuesday evening.