Video footage has surfaced showing that during the first night of civil unrest over the shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr. by Philadelphia police, officers surrounded a slow-moving SUV, smashed its windows, pulled the driver and passenger out of the vehicle, threw them to the ground and then moments later, removed a child from the backseat.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the video was shot just before 2 a.m. Tuesday by 30-year-old Aapril Rice, who filmed the chaos from the night while standing on the roof of her residence 10 blocks away from where Wallace was shot and killed.
From the Inquirer:
Rice said she shot her video just after 1:45 a.m., watching a crowd of people near a Foot Locker that was being burglarized. After people in the crowd threw projectiles toward police, officers first backed away, then advanced down Chestnut Street from 52nd toward 53rd.
Two vehicles entered the scene: A pickup truck drove in the middle of the street near police, while a different vehicle, an SUV, was “trying to turn around,” according to Rice.
With dozens of officers on the block, about 15 swarmed the SUV, yelling for the driver to get out of the vehicle.
Rice’s video appears to show at least two officers bashing in the windows and then one officer repeatedly hitting the driver with a baton. Officers then pull a second adult out of the vehicle, and then seconds later appeared to remove the child from the backseat.
Looks like Philly PD smashed the windows of a passing vehicle that was trying to turn around, then dragged the parents out and beat them on the ground in front of their terrified children. [@MrCheckpoint] pic.twitter.com/dNBf0aLGAf
— Chad Loder (@chadloder) October 28, 2020
Officials haven’t released any information as to what prompted the officers’ attack on the SUV and the driver, but police said Wednesday that an Internal Affairs investigation into the incident is underway. Neither the driver nor passenger has been identified, and it’s unclear whether they were arrested at the scene or charged with any crimes.
According to the Inquirer, the altercation took place less than 12 hours after Wallace was shot. The incident preceded a second night of protests over the 27-year-old’s death.
Danielle Outlaw—the city’s first Black woman police commissioner—and Mayor Jim Kenney announced a 9 p.m. curfew Wednesday, and just as they promised a thorough investigation into Wallace’s death, they promised a review of police officers’ conduct during the protests this week.