HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — When asked on Thursday, Governor Tom Wolf says he does feel for the dozens of Philadelphia Police officers injured in riots this week. He previously sparked controversy on social media by not directly addressing the injured officers in a prior interview, press conference and statement.
Wolf says he is frustrated society is still talking about issues of law enforcement, mental health and use of force, and that we haven’t figured out how to fix a broken system.
“I’m really sorry they’ve put in the impossible position they’ve been in, and that’s what I’m focused on, the system…no good outcomes for anybody,” said Wolf. “This has been going on for a long time. We have to do something about this system. It stinks.”
Walter Wallace Junior was shot and killed Monday afternoon by officers. They say he was wielding a knife and approaching them, and refused to drop the weapon.
Wallace’s family said he was having a mental health crisis, and that they initially called for an ambulance, but police arrived first.
The attorney for Wallace’s family says after loved ones saw body camera footage of the incident, they do not want the two officers who shot him to be charged with murder.
This is the statement Wolf issued on social media Tuesday, after 30 officers were injured in riots Monday night. The Governor also briefly addressed the situation in an interview on network television. ABC27 initially asked him his response to the officers’ injuries, and if anything was being done to protect officers, businesses and citizens Tuesday.
Nearly two dozen officers were injured in more riots Tuesday night.
Wallace’s family has called for peace in the city.
“That doesn’t give you carte blanche to execute a man, quite frankly, because he has a knife,” said Shaka Johnson, who is the attorney for the Wallace family. “That is why I’ve said ever since Tuesday. The city has failed not only the Wallace family, not only the other members of that community who will be scarred and traumatized for the remainder of their days, but the city has also failed those police officers and failed them tremendously. The only remedy the police had in that moment per their thinking was their service weapon.”
Wednesday night, police found a van loaded with explosives in the city. They removed propane tanks, torches and possible sticks of dynamite.
There is no word on who owned the van, an arrest or if its related to the rioting,
There was not a curfew Thursday night, because protests were less violent.
Members of the Pennsylvania National Guard will be staffed in the city throughout the weekend.