The city of Philadelphia has agreed to pay $2.5 million to the family of Walter Wallace Jr. to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit filed after Wallace was killed by police in October of last year, touching off days of protest and unrest.
The settlement came two days after city officials agreed to equip all patrol officers with Tasers — a demand the family made shortly after Wallace, in the throes of a metal breakdown and holding a knife, was fatally shot by two officers who did not have the nonlethal weapons.
Lawyers for the Wallace family, Shaka Johnson and Kevin O’Brien, declined to say how much the city agreed to pay to settle the suit, saying the family wanted privacy. But city officials confirmed the sum.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Johnson said the settlement “reflected the tragedy that took place, the city’s role and policy failures that contributed to [Wallace’s] death, while also taking into account the factual complexities” of the case.
Sources familiar with the case told The Inquirer the settlement is the largest the city had ever paid in the case of an armed person killed by police. In 2018, the city paid $1 million to the family of David Jones, who was fatally shot by a police officer who stopped him for riding a dirt bike on the sidewalk. Jones had a gun, authorities said, but it fell to the ground and he was running away when Officer Ryan Pownall shot him. Pownall was charged with murder and is awaiting trial.
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SOURCE: The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mensah M. Dean