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Philadelphia imposes curfew after deadly police shooting sparks protests

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-10-29 14:11

A police officer investigates inside a store that was looted in unrest following the death of Walter Wallace Jr., a Black man who was shot by police, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US, Oct 28, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - Philadelphia on Wednesday imposed a citywide curfew after police's fatal shooting of a black man triggered two nights of protests.

The curfew started from 9 pm (0100 GMT) until 6 am (1000 GMT) Thursday.

The measure was adopted to deal with the protests and looting following Monday's fatal shooting by police of 27-year-old black man Walter Wallace Jr., who was armed with a knife during an encounter with two officers in West Philadelphia.

The Pennsylvania State Police Mounted Patrol Unit gathered in Center City while Philadelphia police gathered outside the 18th District headquarters in West Philadelphia to enforce the restrictions, local media reported, adding that several people were arrested outside the 18th District for what the police said was their refusal to leave for the curfew after repeated warnings.

A total of 81 arrests were made between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning for various offenses ranging from assault on police and burglary to robbery and disorderly conduct, police said.

Protests in the city's Cobbs Creek neighborhood remained largely peaceful, but turned violent when the crowd was met by police in West Philadelphia. Some of the protesters threw rocks, water bottles and other items at responding officers, leaving dozens of officers hurt, according to media reports.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster emergency for Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon.

"Over the last few days, hundreds of people have gathered to peacefully speak out against social injustice, but their voices are being drowned out by others who are taking advantage of this fragile time in their city to sow mayhem and discord," the governor said, adding the proclamation will enable a quick provision of state resources "to protect lives and property".

The National Guard was deployed in Philadelphia on Tuesday, Wolf's office confirmed.

The two police officers involved in the death of Wallace are being investigated for what they knew when they answered a call about a man with a knife. They didn't have Tasers while on the scene.

In a video posted online on Monday, Wallace was seen walking into the street in West Philadelphia with a knife as people yelled and two police officers aimed their guns at him.

He eventually fell to the ground after several rounds of gun shots were heard.

Wallace's family said he suffered from bipolar disorder and was in crisis during the time of the shooting.

His father condemned the violence, telling CNN on Tuesday that he didn't "want to leave a bad scar on my son and my family with this looting and chaos stuff".

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