Picking up on anti-police rioting in Philadelphia, the broadcast and cable news networks have all given attention to the case of Walter Wallace Jr. being shot and killed by police officers as he approached them with a knife. But, so far, only Fox News has bothered to divulge that he reportedly not only had a violent criminal history and anti-cop views.
On Wednesday morning, CNN’s New Day show notably promoted a narrative that emergency services should have sent an ambulance instead of police officers. Co-host Alisyn Camerota set up the piece:
We have new details about the shooting death of 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr., who was killed by Philadelphia police this week after reportedly walking towards them with a knife. Wallace’s family says he was experiencing a mental health crisis and that they had called for an ambulance, not police intervention.
After recalling the violent interaction that left Wallace dead, Gingras suggested that police had mishandled the situation:
We have learned from the family who tells CNN that they called an ambulance for help, saying their son was going through a bipolar episode and that they just wanted some de-escalation tactics. And that’s one of the questions so many people are asking, even this morning, as why weren’t those tactics in place? Why did those two officers not have tasers on their toolbelt, as we learned from the police department?
On Tuesday’s Cuomo Prime Time, host Cuomo even gave Wallace’s father a forum to claim his son “wouldn’t hurt a God damn fly” in spite of holding a knife and charging at police.
On the bright side, later on the New Day show, CNN law enforcement analyst and former Philadelphia top cop Charles Ramsey implicated the “defund the police” movement as he suggested that, if not for recent budget cuts, more police officers would have been armed with tasers, which might have helped de-escalate Wallace, who reportedly had a mental disorder.
FoxNews.com reported that “the Black man fatally shot by Philadelphia police officers on Monday was an aspiring rapper who sometimes rhymed about shooting people, including police officers
Over on Fox and Friends, correspondent Aisha Hasnie briefly mentioned Wallace’s criminal record, and, on Wednesday evening, on his eponymous Fox News show, Tucker Carlson informed viewers: “We should tell you, by the way, he was awaiting trial for threatening to kill a woman and shoot up her house. In 2017, he pled guilty to robbery and assault. In that case, he held a gun to a woman’s head. In 2013, he pled guilty to resisting arrest and punching a cop in the face.”
None of the other networks has so far reported on Wallace’s criminal history in spite of most broadcast morning and evening newscasts covering the story twice between Tuesday and Wednesday.
This episode of CNN’s New Day was sponsored in part by Nordic Track. Their contact information is linked.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, October 28, New Day on CNN. Click on “expand” to read more.
ALISYN CAMEROTA: We have new details about the shooting death of 27-year-old Walter Wallace Jr., who was killed by Philadelphia police this week after reportedly walking towards them with a knife. Wallace’s family says he was experiencing a mental health crisis and that they had called for an ambulance, not police intervention. CNN’s Brynn Gingras is live in Philadelphia with more. Brynn?
BRYNN GINGRAS: Yeah, Alisyn, good morning. There are so many concerning questions in the words of the district attorney, the mayor, the police commissioner of Philadelphia this morning, especially when you look at that video that has been widely circulated. Now, we want to show you that video, and you can see Walter Wallace has a knife in his hand. We’re going to pause the video before we actually see the shots fired by two officers. And we learned yesterday, there was a total of 14 shots fired. Now, what you can’t see in that video is Wallace’s mother crying out to her son to drop the knife, as were police, and also crying out to police to not shoot her son. A lot of emotion on that scene that isn’t actually visible on that video, but we have learned from the family who tells CNN that they called an ambulance for help, saying their son was going through a bipolar episode and that they just wanted some de-escalation tactics. And that’s one of the questions so many people are asking, even this morning, as why weren’t those tactics in place? Why did those two officers not have tasers on their toolbelt, as we learned from the police department?
Now, we also learned from this investigation that both of those officers did have body cameras on them, that the cameras were rolling, and that is information that is going to be gleaned as part of two separate investigations that are ongoing this morning — one with the district attorney’s office, separate from the internal one that’s happening in the police department. But the family of Walter Wallace, 27 years old, they say he wanted to be a rap artist, and they say they want his name to be heard. They don’t want it to be connected to any violence that has broken out in the city really for the past two nights. And they are calling for calm.
But again, another night, a second night, it was anything but calm here in Philadelphia. I can tell you that we were part of protests on the west side of the city, west Philadelphia, where police flooded that area, because that’s where there was looting, there were concerns, incidents happening the night before. Well, people really took some advantage, and there was thousands of looters that attacked a different part of the city. That’s not to say, Alisyn, that there were not peaceful protests. Again, we were part of one where they chanted Walter Wallace’s name, calling for peace, calling for change. And I will tell you that now the National Guard is coming into the city to help for any future unrest. Alisyn?
CAMEROTA: It’s just horrible on so many levels. I mean, the family called the police for help, and then all of this unfolded. Brynn, thank you very much. We’ll continue to cover it throughout the program.