Philadelphia imposes curfew amid unrest following police shooting | News | DW | 28.10.2020

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Philadelphia imposes curfew amid unrest following police shooting

The shooting death of a Black man has unleashed two days of looting and violence in the east coast city. Officials said they have ordered an overnight curfew to stop "lawlessness."

The mayor's office of the US east coast city of Philadelphia said Wednesday that a citywide curfew would be put in place overnight in an attempt to quell two nights of unrest following the police shooting of a Black man.

The curfew will begin on Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. local time through 6:00 a.m. Thursday morning, according to the mayor's office website. Grocery stores, restaurants and pharmacies have the option to operate delivery services.

On Monday, 27-year-old Walter Wallace was shot to death by police following an altercation during which authorities say he ignored orders to drop a knife.

Man had 'mental health' problems 

Wallace's family said he was experiencing ongoing mental health problems, and that they had called an ambulance as Wallace was having an episode. 

A police car in Philadelphia

The scene following the police shooting of Walter Wallace on Monday

The family's lawyer, Shaka Johnson, said that Philadelphia police officers are not properly trained on handling mental health crises. 

"When you come to a scene where somebody is in a mental crisis, and the only tool you have to deal with it is a gun ... where are the proper tools for the job?'' she said. 

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the department will release 911 tapes and footage from police body cameras "in the near future.''

Read moreOpinion: Black Lives Matter protests are not enough for long-term results

Ongoing unrest

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Philadelphia, a city with over 1.5 million people, since Monday's shooting.

There have been clashes with police and reports of shops damaged by looting. City officials said they estimate that about 1,000 people were involved in looting on Tuesday night.

"These individuals are doing nothing but simply wasting our precious resources," Police Commissioner Outlaw told a press briefing, describing the "widespread lawlessness" in the city. 

Philadelphia police reported 81 arrests overnight from Tuesday into Wednesday, including eight for assaulting police, 53 for burglary and one for arson. Dozens of police officers were treated for minor injuries. 

Pennsylvania officials have said the National Guard is due to arrive in the next few days to focus on guarding infrastructure.

Candidates denounce violence

Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden said Wednesday that there is "no excuse whatsoever" for looting and violence, while expressing support for "legitimate" protests. Biden said he would look into ways to prevent police shootings if elected.

Following a campaign event Wednesday, US President Donald Trump said the looting was "terrible."

Read moreUS election: Trump bets on law-and-order campaign, again

"The mayor, or whoever it is that's allowing people to riot and loot and not stop them, is just a horrible thing," Trump told reporters. "You can't let that go on," he added.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, said Tuesday that although there are "a lot of peaceful protesters," vandalism and violence is "not an acceptable form" of protest.

wmr/sri (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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