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Walter Wallace Mug Shot
Walter Wallace Jr.

Riots broke out in Philadelphia again on October 26, 2020. The nation also saw another familiar horror story. A man wielded a knife and got shot by police – on camera. He died.

His name is Walter Wallace Jr.

Wallace’s death quickly turned him into a martyr to many people in the city of Philadelphia where he died. His death was the catalyst for some protests about police brutality, but it he was also used by other people with their own destructive political agendas. Those people turn protests into riots or start riots adjacent to protests to distract the media from anything even remotely potentially positive. That cycle will probably itself for weeks as more and more misinformation is distributed.

Too many counter-productive people took hold of the moment and turned it into a terror attack on the city. It is unclear who is responsible for organizing & carrying out the street-level violence at this point too. That makes it very difficult for the city to mourn and heal itself. But we know that our city government is orchestrating some of it. Our police force has proven to be inept at stopping these things thanks largely to our police commissioner who is enabling the riots & violence to continue.

The Formula For An Anti-Police Social (Justice) Riot

Almost immediately after the death, people in the neighborhood organize a protest to express their upset and talk about solutions. Usually these are people who actually live nearby as well as other family of the victim. In most cases, they are trying their best to make a real impact and change.

Shortly after that, violent riots erupt close enough to the protests to distract the media. Since “if it bleeds, it leads,” media covers the riots more than the protests. This confuses the public about what happened and why. The public gets confused about who did what. That’s because the press doesn’t even know. But at this point, the press (as a business) doesn’t even care. It sells their ads, so they publish it without even thinking now.

It has become an all too common trope to quibble over the difference between the “mostly peaceful protests” & “riots.” It becomes impossible to determine where a peaceful protest ends and a riot begins, but the reality is that both protests and riots occur. They both have consequences, and organizers. The organizers of protests need to be treated differently than the organizers of riots.

Shadowy Figures

Those violent riots overshadow the incident until nobody even focuses on the individual case any longer. I’ve had people already tell me that it isn’t even about Wallace anymore. That’s pretty sad. Before people even know details about Walter Wallace Jr. and his life they are ready to move on to a more broad general topic. Wallace’s death quickly becomes an afterthought to the people who protested or rioted in his name. They’re on to the next.

Protests Can Easily Turn Into Riots Near Malcolm X Park In West Philly
Photograph by Emma Lee/WHYY.
A sign held at Malcolm X Park during a protest regarding Walter Wallace. It looks like the name Walter Wallace is written on another piece of paper that is taped on to allow the person to reuse the same sign at different protests for different people.
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The News Business Is Responsible For The Confusion Between Protests & Riots

They don’t care about people like Wallace or the city of Philadelphia.

There is a general feeling that things like this (white cops killing a black suspect) happen too often. Even if that’s not true. The fact that people feel like it is, and reinforce that idea, makes it true in their minds. When local journalists create this perception, they tell the national news what to think about our local problems. Then people from the outside (other cities or countries) chime in on social media. This creates more distraction and confusion because those people really don’t know what they’re talking about.

Local press generally don’t take the time to articulate exactly where protests happened compared to where riots happen. The riots also happen very close to the protests, which makes it even harder to discern the difference between them. Nobody takes responsibility for the riots, either, so they are presented as if they occur at random. But they don’t. They can’t.

So we have a climate where people instantly apply their version of the national narrative to a specific incident. The local press profits from that kind of immediate gratification, so they are incentivized to let it happen or make it happen. Now that everybody has a camera and reports on information it’s also hard to know the difference between press and non-press civilian now. The characterization of the victim, police, our city, and everything else currently belongs to a press that isn’t worthy of the task.

I’m sorry to be the one to have to say this, but somebody has to.

TRIGGER WARNING – Suicide By Proxy Is A Disturbing New Trend

I studied the phenomenon of “suicide by proxy” involving police, in the process of writing my book, “The Digital Lynching of George P. Floyd.” I postulated that Floyd’s death was also a suicide by proxy, not a murder by asphyxiation.

A suicide by proxy is when somebody uses another person to kill themselves. It is a disgusting and horribly sad thing to contemplate. A lot of people use the term “suicide by cop” but that is a misleading term since it places the onus on the police officer who has to take certain actions to defend themselves and innocent people. By law. People know that, too.

Based on my research on the topic, I estimate that between 5% – 10% of all police-involved shooting deaths may have been from a suicide by proxy attempt. You can read my book where I discuss this in more detail and cite a study which concludes that and other sources which describe this in more detail as it pertains to Floyd’s situation.

Wallace fits the description of a victim of suicide by proxy in many ways:

  • <40 Years Old
  • Father With Children
  • History of Mental Illness
  • History of Violent Crime
  • Personal Loss Or Tragedy
  • Financial Hardship
  • Drawing Police Into A Conflict
  • Wielding A Weapon At Police

Victim Blaming Isn’t Always Inappropriate

The basic premise is – a victim will initiate an altercation with police, while appearing to be a visible threat. That results in the lethal use of force, which police are trained to do. It is commonplace now to blame the police for these types of incidents. “Victim blaming” is a severe thing to do.

However, the facts remain that his actions demonstrate that kind of personality. It would be remise of the police if they choose not to investigate this possibility too. Mostly because what happened is a lot more rare than people want to admit. Actually, most people don’t know how rare of an event this really was because they don’t bother to read reports about it.

People Don’t Understand How Rare It Is In Philadelphia Today For A White Cop To Kill A Black Suspect That Wasn’t A Physical Threat To Themselves Or Other People

To put it bluntly, white Philly cops very rarely kill black residents who were not posing a homicidal or suicidal threat. At least in modern day Philadelphia. It is possible that this was a different story in another decade or generation. I’m not denying that. If somebody wants to educate me about the way things were in a different era, I know there is a lot to learn from that. Feel free to call me and tell me all about it: 215 550 1039

However, we need to exist in the now and understand what’s real.

In 2015, the Philadelphia Police Department released a report: “An Assessment of Deadly Force in the Philadelphia Police Department.” I looked at this originally in the context of my book. One of the most staggering results I found contradicts the current national narrative about police brutality being a racist problem. In this study, they found that black police officers are about 2x as likely to improperly identify black civilians as a threat – when compared to white cops and black civilians.

Also, white cops have significantly more interactions with black civilians.

Let that sink in for a second.

This is why it drives me crazy when people make claims as if white cops assassinate black residents at random or in targeted attacks frequently. It may happen, but that’s not what happened with Wallace. I’m not familiar with that being a real problem in Philadelphia either. But our police commissioner doesn’t have the decency to tell people that. Read the report and prove me wrong if you disagree.

Mugshots Are Important In This Case Because Wallace Knows What Police Interactions Look Like

In cases like this, a victim’s mugshots sometimes get released. This results in a very typical dichotomy between the left and the right in the American political system. The left often accuses the right of thinking a person deserved to die. Then the right argues about why it is sometimes necessary for police to take a life, even if it’s awful to consider. Nobody asks if the person wanted to die or what we do about people like that. That question makes both sides feel really uncomfortable.

It’s important to me that Wallace has a criminal record, but for the same reason it was important to me that Floyd did. A person with their kind of criminal records knows how the police operate. They know that certain types of actions get the cops called on you. They also know that certain actions will result in a police shooting. At this point, most people know this simply from all the gut-wrenching situations we’ve been forced to see on social media or television where it happens.

Mugshots Shape Perception & Local Media Uses Them Differently Depending On Their Propaganda’s Purpose

You can read my article about obtaining George Floyd’s mugshots here. It took me about 90 days to get the Houston PD to provide them. Somehow or another, Wallace’s mugshots were released within about 48 hours. I don’t know who is responsible for releasing them either. But somebody will have to explain to me why and how that happened so quickly.

Walter Wallace's Mugshots
Walter Wallace Jr. Mugshots From Prior Arrests

When I published Floyd’s mugshots (I was the first and only person to do so) I received so many phone calls from people calling me racist, and a bunch of hateful things. They accused me of thinking he deserved to die, which I never said at all. I told them I think he wanted to die. There is a big difference. My point with Floyd was that he stayed at the scene of the crime for far too long for a guy that knows how the cops operate. A guy that otherwise wouldn’t want to get arrested (again) doesn’t sit around waiting for police to arrive. Similarly, I find it hard to believe that Wallace would continue holding the knife knowing that will get the cops to shoot him.

The irony is that in Floyd’s case, people thought I was trying to dehumanize Floyd by releasing his mugshots. Now reporters are releasing Wallace’s mugshots but instead of saying it’s racist to do that, they are saying it’s because his mental illness caused him to be a criminal. So the Floyd mugshots were suppressed to shape a narrative about him being a gentle giant. In this case they were rushed out to be used as a prop for the press.

Is Kenney Considering Investigating Wallace’s Death As A Suicide? I Doubt It.

I have asked representatives of the city if they are considering this kind of investigation. The following departments or people have failed to comment:

  • District Attorney’s Office
  • City Council
  • Mayor’s Office
  • Police Public Affairs

Trump Said His Department of Justice Is “Looking At” Wallace’s Death & Philadelphia’s Riots

6ABC reports, “Trump, Biden respond to deadly police shooting and civil unrest in Philadelphia.” Both Trump and Biden were asked about the situation on the campaign trail. Biden doesn’t hold a public office and has used that as an excuse to be a purely rhetorical politician now. If he does anything about it, I’m sure it will be in conjunction with his friend mayor Jim Kenney.

Trump said that, “if asked to go in to help, we will do that.” He went on to say that, “they should be able to handle” the situation locally. But if they can’t, he would have federal troops here within an hour if they got the call.

Trump made mention that they are looking into it or considering investigating on their own as well. He said, “the federal government is looking at it also.” I hope that they do. Our city government is not trustworthy to do this honestly. If they have any culpability or direct responsibility, they won’t admit to that at all. But somebody needs to hold them accountable for this and many other things.

President Donald Trump Talking About Philadelphia
President Trump talking briefly about Walter Wallace Jr. in Philadelphia.

Kenney & Outlaw’s Phony Press Conference Proves They Are Still Waging A War Against Trump & The Residents Of Philadelphia

Danielle Outlaw & Jim Kenney Are Criminal Conspirators
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw (left) and Mayor James Francis Kenney (right)

The press conference on October 27 had members of the press from WHYY, ABC, FOX, AP, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine, and others in attendance. One of the reporters on this press conference was Claudia Lauer for the Associated Press. In an article in Upper Michigans Source, “GRAPHIC: Philadelphia pledges better response after Black man’s death” they publish the bodycam footage recently released by the city. Lauer quotes Outlaw saying, “We don’t have a behavioral health unit, which is sorely needed.” This quickly becomes a politically significant theme.

Kenney Didn’t Say He Would Work With Trump, Which Is His Indirect Way Of Saying He Wouldn’t Work With Trump Directly

Mayor Jim Kenney Is A Traitor
Mayor James Francis Kenney praying – hopefully for forgiveness.

Kenney wanted everybody on that press conference to know explicitly that the city already called for reinforcements related to the election. He wanted it to be clear that he did not call for PA National Guard troops related to the riots after Wallace’s death.

With a statement like that you really have to think.


  1. Kenney is telling the truth, and they did not call the governor to get the National Guard to help the police contain the riots. That would show his negligence and willingness to hurt Philadelphians and terrorize the nation for his aberrant political agenda.
  2. Kenney is lying, and did call the governor to get the National Guard to help contain the riots. This would demonstrate his pattern of lying about important issues that relate to the health & safety of people in the city of Philadelphia. Also bad.
  3. Kenney is both lying and telling the truth. In his delusional mind he might think that riots, protests, and violence are all part of the election process. Therefore calling the governor for National Guard reinforcements for the election isn’t the same as the riots (in his mind).

Wallace’s death doesn’t really matter to Jim Kenney, though. He didn’t even say much when children in our city were killed this year. It’s unlikely that Wallace’s death is going to change his heart or make him work with Trump.

Local Reporters & City Officials Are Branding Wallace’s Death A Mental Health Episode Which Actually Supports My Theory

Here are a few articles talking about mental illness and Walter Wallace Jr., to give you a sense of how it was presented in the first 24-72 hours:

Walter Wallace Clean Cut Image To Distract From Riots
Walter Wallace Jr.

The problem I have with the way they are going about doing this, is how they are painting Wallace’s victimhood. They paint him as a victim of mental health issues. Which may be true. But it isn’t an excuse for violent threats or actual violence towards anybody including police. Wallace’s death was a tragic accident from the police’s perspective. Despite the narrative people paint them with, they’re not in the murder business.

But it’s possible that Wallace’s death was intended – from his perspective.

Sadly, You Can’t Always Stop Somebody Who Is Hell Bent On Destroying Themselves

A mental illness would support the idea that Wallace’s death was part of his own decision-making. If you’ve never known anybody like that it can be hard to understand. But a suicidally destructive mind is a sickness that doesn’t always have a cure, unfortunately. Maybe one day we will have one but that day is not today. I’ve unfortunately known people who take their own lives or spiral out of control into an unavoidable death trap. It’s so sad to watch. Wallace’s death is a stark reminder of what happens when a person loses faith or purpose.

It will probably hurt for a long time for the people who survive his death, especially the way these grieving families are treated by the press now.

Putting People’s Grieving Family On TV Immediately Isn’t Healthy, But It Helps Lawyers & Media Companies Make Money

In order to raise awareness for a case, lawyers need press. So putting grieving families makes them look sympathetic. The media knows people will watch that kind of sadness, so they push to get that content quickly.

That’s terrible for a grieving family.

I personally think it’s a horrible circumstance to put a mother, father, or child in the media right after something like this. No matter how it went down, that isn’t good for them. All it does is give news agencies a story.

It dishonors the dead. But that’s what some of the chaos agents want.

Black Lives Martyred: An Open-Source Business Model For Desperate People

When a black person’s life is lost on camera, and shared widely, it serves as a sort of terror attack too, which radicalizes people to take extreme action or codify voters. Remember, the media is finely tuned right now for stories that are relevant in the 2020 Presidential election. Democrats use these incidents to intimidate people into voting for them. They claim that if you don’t follow suit you are racist or bigoted and part of the problem. Then riots prove a physical reminder to people what could happen to them if they oppose the mob movement.

News organizations trade on the viewership from these stories to sell advertising. So it actually serves a purpose for these industries, which is gross to think about. But true. They all (journalists and news organizations) know it too. Just like dumping toxic chemicals into a river is clearly wrong but companies can be allowed to do it sometimes, media that’s toxic still gets shared in the mainstream media. Torture movies like Walter Wallace being shot are a big business for platforms like Facebook and Twitter too.

Everybody talks about them so they sell a lot of ads. Disgusting, right?

Funding Victims & Their Family

It has become systematic now down to the GoFundMe page which raise money in lieu of a life insurance policy for the victim’s family. George Floyd’s family raised over $20,000,000 for themselves.

Wallace’s page has made over $150,000 in a few days too.

Not all deaths are caught on camera, though. That’s one reason why they don’t get the same coverage as police-involved incidents, even though those are more rare than civilian-to-civilian homicide. But there are other reasons why some people’s deaths get turned into riotous action, and others are forgotten as if they never happened at all. Stories about police officer misconduct are hard to miss these days.

But, if you think our police are bad, wait until you see the DA’s office.

Philly DA’s Office “Anti-Violence Worker” Said To Have Killed Male Prostitute – Less Than A Week Before Wallace’s Death

DeVonte Douglass From Philadelphia's DA Office
DeVonte Douglass

DeVonte Douglass works in the Philadelphia district attorney’s office as an “anti-violence” worker. Around 10am on October 20, 2020 Douglass is said to have shot and killed a 31 year old male prostitute. According to Big Trial in their article from October 21, “DA’s Gun Violence Counselor Shoots And Kills Male Prostitute,” Douglass is claiming self defense. Apparently Douglass had completed the sexual transaction with a 31 year old male prostitute named Vernon Harris prior.

Then, Harris is said to have pointed a gun at Douglass, as if to rob him.

Douglass claims that Harris then put the gun back in his waistband. But, fearing Harris would actually shoot him, Douglass says he drew his gun and shot Harris – killing him. Some parts of this story are hard to believe for different reasons. But for now I’m taking the information at face value.

According to Big Trial’s article, Douglass “ran across Lehigh Avenue, pleading for someone to call police.” So, even an anti-violence advocate/counselor reaches out to police when they’re in need. The notion that social workers are more capable at de-escalating violent situations is not as obvious as people say it is.

If Silence Is Violence…?

To my knowledge neither police chief Outlaw nor mayor Kenney have made any comment on the situation with Douglass and Harris.

I bring it up for 2 main reasons:

  1. Our local press won’t talk about it because they are in bed with city officials and don’t publish any real criticisms of their actions.
  2. Douglass is the kind of individual that would be recommended to intervene in a mental health situation – in lieu of the police.

Whether police office or anti-violence social worker, sometimes the act of crime prevention is deadly. This is something that should break the heart of every person. But the other reality is, there is only so much that the news business can cover. What they choose to talk about is important for their business, as well as the public. But when our press is corrupt, they hide things that they shouldn’t, and promote things that they shouldn’t instead.

Compared To Coverage Of Wallace’s Death’s It’s Like This Never Even Happened As Far As The General Public Is Concerned

Here are a few of the local news outlets that covered Harris’ death:

No Riots For DeVonte Douglass Or Vernon Harris
DeVonte Douglass was also apparently a student at Pierce College.

Whether or not social workers are appropriate to intervene in violent mentally ill episodes or not isn’t even the biggest issue to me. The issue is that if non-police actors should be used in crime prevention, we can’t trust our current mayor’s administration to implement it. Nor can we trust our police chief. Nor can we trust our district attorney’s office. That is a scary thing to begin to confront. Some of the people paid to protect us are hurting us on purpose because they think it’s politically advantageous. But the Douglass & Harris situation raises other issues.

Douglass may have acted in self defense.

In fact we know so little about these events, he may be completely innocent of wrongdoing. But if Douglass did do this, how can we trust our city to identify who is capable of de-escalation?

If the problem is homicidal violence in the city, we need to look at all of these stories with seriousness. We can’t just cherry pick the ones that fit a specific narrative people already expect to read.

That isn’t journalism. That’s propaganda.

Consider For Yourself – How Can We Stop Something Like Wallace’s Death From Happening Again?

If this man was mentally ill and suicidal, it would be terrible. But that shouldn’t be misconstrued with improper use of lethal force from the police. We can have a conversation about non-lethal ways for the police to subdue threats – even lethal threats. However, we can’t disarm the police while they are on the streets fighting people with lethal weapons. That would make the police below the law.

Nobody is below the law.

If we give “anti-violence” advocates the right to self-defense as a justification for the death of a person, why is there a double standard for police acting in self-defense while defending the city with their lives?

Our city council is active in dismantling the police’s ability to enforce law & order. They are stripping police of the right to use even non-lethal deterrents to rioting.

Pray for us whether you live here or not.

The mayor’s unconstitutional war against the city and country must end.


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a hotline for individuals in crisis or for those looking to help someone else. To speak with a certified listener, call 1-800-273-8255.

Crisis Text Line

Crisis Text Line is a texting service for emotional crisis support. To speak with a trained listener, text HELLO to 741741. It is free, available 24/7, and confidential.

The Veterans Crisis Line and Military Crisis Line

1-800-273-8255 Press 1
The Veterans Crisis Line and Military Crisis Line connect veterans and service members in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text.

Matt Berman

Matt Berman

Matt has been an artist since he was a child: dancing, illustrating, writing, and producing music. In business, Matt is a master strategist, and expert in communications. He combines his creative passions with his diligence as a professional to give clients a fierce competitive advantage in any circumstance. He has a Bachelors degree in Philosophy from Temple University. Follow Matt on Twitter @mattebphl