An Arizona police officer was fired Tuesday (November 30) after fatally shooting a man in a motorized wheelchair.
Video footage from the incident shows now-former Tucson police officer Ryan Remington opening fire on a man, identified as 61-year-old Richard Lee Richards, after accusing him of shoplifting a tool box from Walmart and allegedly brandishing a knife.
The involved officers can be heard asking Richards to stop before firing nine rounds into his back as he headed into a neighboring store.
“His use of deadly force in this incident is a clear violation of department policy and directly contradicts multiple aspects of use of force training,” Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus told CNN in a statement.
Attorneys representing Remington said the footage released by the police doesn’t show the full story.
According to police, an employee accused Richards of stealing from the store and then contacted an off-duty Tucson officer who was working a special duty assignment at the store.
That’s when Remington and the employee followed Richards out to the parking lot in while “attempting to gain his cooperation.”
“According to the employee, he caught up with Mr. Richards outside as he fled and asked to see a receipt for the toolbox. Instead of providing the receipt, Mr. Richards brandished a knife and said, ‘Here’s your receipt.”
Remington reportedly wanted Richards to stop and hand over the knife but the 61-year-old “refused to comply and instead continued to head through the Walmart and Lowe’s parking lots,” the chief added.
The employee told police that Richards said, “If you want me to put down the knife, you’re going to have to shoot me.”
A second officer arrived to provide assistance and both were behind Richards when they warned him not to enter another nearby store.
Video shows Richards beginning to enter the store when Remington can be heard saying, “Do not go into the store, sir.”
Within seconds, Remington opens fire on Richards who slumps over in his wheelchair before falling to the ground. A total of nine rounds were fired, according to police.
Store surveillance footage shows the officer immediately handcuffing Richards after shooting him.
Magnus confirmed to the news outlet that the Pima County Attorney is reviewing the incident.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero described the fatal police encounter as “unconscionable and indefensible” while throwing support behind the County Attorney’s investigation.
“It is moments like this that test our resolve to ensure justice and accountability,” Romero said. “We owe this to all Tucsonans. I ask our community to remain calm and be patient as investigations ensue.”
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The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
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