City to release Wallace video

Police officers stand guard outside a police station after the death of Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man who was shot by police in Philadelphia.
REUTERS/Hannah McKay

City leaders urged peace Wednesday night as they prepared to release video taken from the body-worn cameras of the officers who shot and killed Walter Wallace Jr. last week in West Philadelphia.

Officials also planned to release audio from the 911 and dispatch calls. Neither tapes were released at this time.

When it is published, the video will be the first body camera footage ever released by the Philadelphia Police Department.

“We understand that the materials released today will be very painful,” Mayor Jim Kenney said at a news conference Wednesday evening. “It will elicit anger, rage, distress, evoke more questions and rightfully so.”

“With this release, the world will see we are engaging in an open process,” he added.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the video shows officers arriving, interacting with Wallace, the shooting and everything up until he is loaded into a cruiser to be transported to the hospital.

Part of the footage was removed at the request of Wallace’s family, District Attorney Larry Krasner told reporters.

Authorities, for the first time, released the names of the two officers involved in the incident, both of whom fired seven shots at Wallace.

Officers Sean Matarazzo, 25, and Thomas Munz, 26, discharged their weapons, Outlaw said. Both worked in the 18th Police District. Munz has been with the department since 2017, and Matarazzo joined the force in 2018.

Wallace, a 27-year-old Black man, was wielding a knife when police arrived on the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 26, on the 6100 block of Locust Street.

Cellphone video of the shooting recorded by a witness almost immediately went viral on social media.

It shows officers backing into the street, ordering Wallace to drop the knife. He comes out from behind a parked car and walks towards the officers before several shots are heard.

A protester stands on a vehicle as demonstrators clash with riot police during a rally after the death of Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man who was shot by police in Philadelphia.REUTERS/Yuki Iwamura

The clip shows Wallace collapsing on the street, and his mother is seen rushing to his side.

At Wednesday’s news conference, officials discussed initiatives to improve coordination between the PPD and the city’s Office of Behavioral Health and disAbility Services. Wallace, according to his family, suffered from mental illness.

Krasner, whose office is investigating the shooting, repeatedly called the situation “heartbreaking.”

“Government failed because her son was killed within a minute of government’s arrival,” he said. “As a part of government, I apologize for that.”

Wallace’s death unleashed protests across Philadelphia, and the demonstrations were accompanied by looting and violence in some sections of the city.

The National Guard was called in, and law enforcement guarded strip malls and other commercial areas, though it seemed the unrest calmed by the end of last week.

The PPD continues to investigate the shooting, and Outlaw said she did not have a timeline for when that process would conclude.

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