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Philadelphia Police Shooting Hits Presidential Campaign

The fatal shooting of another Black man by police and subsequent unrest has brought the fraught issues of policing and racism in the nation back to the fore of the presidential election in its closing days, the Associated Press reports. Philadelphia police say Walter Wallace Jr., 27, was shot in the throes of a mental health crisis after he ignored officers’ repeated orders to drop a knife. The encounter, caught on video, led to violent unrest in Philadelphia, and now has both President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden calibrating how to address some of the same questions that have roiled cities as they negotiate the end game for a race in which Pennsylvania is a critical battleground.

Trump  said Wednesday that “Biden and Harris stand with the rioters and the vandals.” The Biden campaign issued a joint statement in which Biden and Harris said that Wallace’s was “a black life that mattered … We cannot accept that in this country a mental health crisis ends in death.” Biden said he’d set up a commission, if elected, to study “how you diminish the prospect of lethal shootings in circumstances like the one we saw.” Kevin Hayes, a sales representative who is white, had a handful of Trump campaign signs in the yard of his home in a Philadelphia suburb. He said he “absolutely” agrees with Trump’s characterization of the Philadelphia protests. “I think it’s terrible the way they’re treating police in Philadelphia right now. They’re not getting any support from the politicians, from the public,” Hayes said.