PHILADELPHIA - All officers in Philadelphia will now carry tasers.
All Philadelphia police officers will also undergo the required training needed to operate a taser. This comes exactly one year after the killing of Walter Wallace Jr.
Officers who were not armed with tasers, shot and killed the 27-year-old of West Philadelphia one year ago Tuesday.
From the very beginning in the aftermath of the shooting, the family was calling for tasers to be an additional measure.
The city says the decision is part of a settlement with Wallace's family who have called for more non-lethal options for police.
"You cannot give the officers just a firearm and expect them to manage every situation with just that," Attorney Shaka Johnson told Good Day Philadelphia during an interview Wednesday morning.
He emphasized that not every scenario is right for a taser, but added that there are still many situations where a taser is justifiable force.
Prior to the mandate, it was optional for officers to choose to go through training for a taser. In the next two years, every single Philadelphia Police officers will be trained on how to use a taser.
According to Shaka Johnson, in 2015 the Department of Justice recommended the City of Philadelphia to employ tasers to a larger degree and the fact that that wasn't taken into advisement was a rallying point for the Wallace family in their settlement with the city.
A small percentage of the the Philadelphia Police Department's budget will go towards outfitting officers with tasers, according to Johnson.
In a statement the Wallace family says:
"The Wallace Family continues to mourn the unnecessary and tragic death of Walter Wallace on the 1-year anniversary of his shooting. They continue to highlight the importance of reforms which they have demanded since his death, including the Philadelphia Police Department's procedures related to mental health and the provision of tasers to all uniformed police. It is their overwhelming desire that these reforms will lead to a safer City for all citizens and ensure that no family will be forced to endure the tragedy of he loss of a loved one during a mental crisis. The family appreciates the respect for their privacy on this day as they mourn together."
In part a statement from the family's attorney, Shaka Johnson says:
"It is our belief, and the sincere hope of the Wallace family that these measures will save lives. It may go unknown to the public, and unreported in the news, but one day, a family in the City of Philadelphia will not have to bury their loved one because of the efforts of the Wallace family which have resulted in these reforms."
The death of Walter Wallace Jr. prompted much unrest in the city of Philadelphia.
- Walter Wallace Jr. shot, killed by police in West Philadelphia
- Family of Walter Wallace Jr. sues Philadelphia police officers involved in fatal shooting
- Walter Wallace Jr. laid to rest in North Philadelphia
- Hundreds gather in West Philadelphia to protest police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr
- 'Obvious mental health crisis': Attorney describes body camera video of Walter Wallace Jr. shooting
- 57 officers injured, 212 arrested after deadly police shooting sparks consecutive nights of unrest
- 'Justice should be served’: Family of Walter Wallace Jr. calls for justice and peace in wake of fatal shooting
- White House issues statement on looting in Philadelphia following death of Walter Wallace Jr.