PHILADELPHIA–“Last night’s horrific incident in Cobb’s Creek is made all the more tragic by the fact that it was completely avoidable. Many questions will need to be answered in the coming weeks, but one thing is clear: this is not the public safety model that our communities want or need.
“Discussions about the killing of Walter Wallace, Jr. will include vigorous debates around acceptable use-of-force protocols. But this is about so much more than that. It’s about what it really takes to feel safe in our neighborhoods, and the overwhelming police response to a mental health emergency is not the answer.
“What we witnessed last night is the sadly predictable outcome of summoning an armed presence into a situation that requires de-escalation and expertise in mental health issues. This is the time to re-think public safety, and how more of our city’s resources can be allocated to organizations and departments who are actually trained to deal with these situations.
“We cannot afford to squander the opportunity to learn from the Civil Rights moment sparked by this summer’s protests. Unless we quickly reconsider the role of our justice system in public safety, we will continue to re-live the pain and heartbreak of last night’s tragedy, and the subsequent outrage from Philly’s Black and Brown communities.”
# # #