Vigil, call to act held for Walter Wallace, Jr., shot to death by police during mental episode

Remembering Walter Wallace, Jr. during a vigil and call to act, Wednesday night the faith community gathered to remember the man shot to death by police a year ago this week, while suffering a mental episode. They’re also making some demands so this doesn’t continue to happen.

"Walter Wallace was shot and killed by the police a year ago and we are remembering him. We have to do something about police violence against black people," stated Sylvia Metzler, during a vigil and call to action, in memory of Walter Wallace, Jr. This week marks a year that two Philadelphia Police officers shot him to death.

"Enough is enough," said one woman. The crowd of people representing different faiths stood in solidarity Wednesday evening outside the Unitarian Society of Germantown Church in Northwest Philly.


"Those of us who are white had a particular responsibility to speak out and to be visible because silence implies consent," said a woman leading the vigil.

Sylvia Metzler held a picture of Wallace.

"He looks like he’s got a future, like he’s anticipating going to school, having a family, having a good life and it was taken away from him," she said. Metzler, like most others, says she's looking for heightened accountability of police.

"I’m not like hate the police, but there is a systemic racism in the force all over the country," she said.

Police shot Wallace in the street outside his Cobbs Creek home after desperate family members called 911 as Wallace walked around holding a knife during a mental episode.

"In 46 seconds of arriving and seeing him, he was shot six times," said Rev. Mark Tyler. Tuesday the city announced it would spend $14 million to get tasers for all officers.

"That’s really not enough. One thing we have seen is a little bit of movement toward co-responders so that it’s not just law enforcement showing up," said Rev. David Brown, referencing the push for people trained in mental health to assist law enforcement when responding to calls so that someone like Walter Wallace won't lose their life when 911 is called.



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