PHILADELPHIA - President Donald Trump is weighing in on two nights of clashes with Philadelphia police and store break-ins following the fatal shooting by police of Walter Wallace Jr.
Trump was asked Wednesday about the violence while speaking in Las Vegas during a campaign swing through Nevada and Arizona. Authorities in Philadelphia say Wallace, a Black man, ignored orders to drop a knife, while his family says he was experiencing a mental health crisis.
Trump says, “You can’t let that go on. Again, a Democrat-run state, a Democrat-run city, Philadelphia.”
Trump says the federal government is reviewing the shooting, too.
The president also claims police were told to stand back during rioting, but adds, “Maybe that’s not so, but that’s what I was told upon very good authority.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has also denounced the violence that occurred during some protests in response to the shooting. He says, “There is no excuse whatsoever for the looting and the violence.”
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner issued a statement saying the Trump Administration seeks to throw gasoline on the fire in order to provoke further unrest and violence.
“Philadelphians are grieving the fatal shooting by police of a Black man who appeared to be in mental health crisis. Instead of working with cities and states to improve accountability and efficacy in policing, instead of supporting and strengthening Black communities, the Trump Administration seeks to throw gasoline on a long-burning fire in order to provoke further unrest and violence ahead of an election he is terrified to lose,” the statement read in part.
“My office is working, as it always does, to hold accountable all those who cause harm, irrespective of status or position. Today, we filed a dozen serious charges against an individual responsible for seriously injuring a Philadelphia Police sergeant by hitting her with a vehicle during the unrest this week. That person is sitting in jail and is being held on $999,999 bail. My office is also investigating the police shooting death of Walter Wallace, Jr., because justice demands accountability for every death at the hands of government actors – whether on the streets or in prisons or in the ICE facilities where Donald Trump is caging children.”
Krasner also warned that any criminal and violent attempts to interfere with Election Day activities or constitutionally required transfers of power would be dealt with swiftly by the District Attorney’s Office:
“The Trump Administration’s efforts to suppress votes amid a global pandemic fueled by their disregard for human life will not be tolerated in the birthplace of American democracy. Philadelphians from a diversity of political opinions believe strongly in the rule of law, in fair and free elections, and in a democratic system of government. We will not be cowed or ruled by a lawless, power-hungry despot. Some folks learned that the hard way in the 1700s.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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