PHILADELPHIA — Hundreds turned out for the Nov. 7 funeral service at the National Temple Baptist Church in North Philadelphia commemorating the life of Walter Wallace Jr. He was killed by Philadelphia cops Sean Matarazzo and Thomas Munz Oct. 26.
The killing is clearly shown on police body camera footage released Nov. 4. “You killed my son! You killed my son!” Wallace’s mother, Kathy Brant, can be seen crying out at the cops who had just gunned him down in front of their home. Brant had tried to physically shield 27-year-old Wallace from the police while they told her to “Back off!” “They paid me no mind and they just shot him,” Brant said later.
You can hear people yelling, “He’s mental!” referring to the fact that Wallace, who had a knife in his hand, was having a mental health crisis. The family had called for an ambulance, not police.
Neighbors rushed out to the street when the cops arrived. “I’m yelling, ‘Put down the gun, put down the gun,’” neighbor Maurice Holloway told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Everyone is saying, ‘Don’t shoot him, we know him.’” Instead, the cops fired 14 shots.
After the body camera footage was released, hundreds demonstrated at City Hall.
The eulogy at the church was given by Wallace’s cousin, Rev. Roosevelt Brant III. His wife, Dominique Wallace; his brother, John; and his father Walter Wallace Sr. spoke. One of Wallace’s teachers, Cynthia Jefferson, spoke and called out those who sought to disrupt the demonstrations with anti-working-class violence. “Honor him: stop looting and shooting,” she said.
Another minister read out the names of Black men and women killed by police around the country.
Several political figures briefly gave remarks, including Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner. “Philadelphia owes you a lot,” Krasner said to the family, for helping in “keeping the peace.” Someone called out, “Yes, they do!” and mourners applauded and stood.