A Viral Video Shows Phoenix Police Fatally Shooting A Man Sitting In A Parked Car
"It does not shock us that despite all the scrutiny from community Phoenix PD continues to respond violently to calls," a city council member said.
A man died Saturday after two police officers shot him while he was sitting inside a parked car in the driveway of a house in Phoenix.
Onlookers can be heard yelling expletives at the officers, along with cries of "Don't shoot him!"
One of the officers is heard yelling, "Hey, stop fucking moving. I'll fucking shoot you," moments before a series of gunshots are heard in quick succession.
Police said the man was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Authorities did not identify him, but family members and a city council member identified the man as James "Jay" Garcia.
The council member, Carlos Garcia, shared the video of the shooting on his Facebook page, saying, "It does not shock us that despite all the scrutiny from community Phoenix PD continues to respond violently to calls."
"We will continue to call for independent investigations into officer involved shootings," Carlos Garcia said.
The Phoenix Police Department said in a statement that officers responded to a 911 caller on Saturday afternoon who said that a man who had tried to kill him a week earlier had returned with a knife and was "threatening to harm him again."
The caller pointed the officers to a home in Maryvale where he alleged the suspect was located, the department said.
When the officers approached the home, they saw an adult man sitting in a car in the driveway. The officers began talking to him for about 10 minutes and explained that they were investigating an aggravated assault, according to police.
During the conversation, the police department said the officers instructed the man to get out of the vehicle.
"At this point, he refused, instead rolling up his window and arming himself with a handgun," police said.
When the officers told the man to drop the handgun, he refused, the department said.
"The man repeatedly told officers to shoot him and lifted the gun towards the officers," police later said.
"One officer saw the gun pointed at a fellow officer and broke the passenger window trying to distract the suspect," the police said, while two other officers fired their weapons into the vehicle at the man.
Authorities did not release the names of the two officers, but said that one a was 29-year-old man who was a 3-year veteran and the other was a 31-year-old man who has been with the force for 2 years.
A woman, who identified herself as James Garcia's sister, shared the video on her Facebook page, saying, "Phoenix P.D shot my brother who was unarmed sleeping in the car."
A spokesperson for the police department dismissed reports that the man was sleeping and unarmed in the car.
"The suspect was not asleep in the vehicle, he armed himself which is what lead to the officer involved shooting," Sgt. Mercedes Fortune told the Arizona Republic on Sunday.
The police spokesperson did not provide further details to BuzzFeed News, including whether Garcia was the suspect that the 911 caller had identified.
Police later released partial body camera footage of an officer who was not directly involved in the shooting, but who assisted at the scene after officers had shot Garcia.
Police said the video "is specifically designed to address misinformation posted by multiple people saying officers shot an unarmed man sleeping in his driveway."
The video did not show any part of the shooting itself, but showed an officer removing a gun from inside Garcia's car after he was shot.
"All body-worn from this incident can’t be released this early in the investigation but will be in the coming weeks as investigators complete witness and officer interviews," the department said.
"It is another tragic loss in the community involving a police-involved shooting," Danny Ortega, an attorney for James Garcia's family, told BuzzFeed News. "The best thing right now for the city of Phoenix would be to be as transparent as quickly as possible," he said.
Ortega said that it was important for the police to release the body camera videos of all the officers surrounding the car as the videos as they would show what really happened "better than anybody involved in the incident."
Carlos Garcia, the city council member, called the police department's statement on the shooting "premature."
"We cannot allow for dishonest narratives to be built by violent departments," Carlos Garcia wrote on Facebook. "We must all continue to ask for transparency and accountability."
The shooting led to a protest against police brutality in Phoenix on Sunday and demands for the department to release body camera footage of the incident, according to an Arizona Republic reporter.