by Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project:
Phoenix, AZ — A year ago today, a tragedy unfolded in Tempe, Arizona as a 14-year-old child was gunned down as he ran away from a cop, holding a toy. Earlier this month, police in Arizona released the full dramatic body camera footage from when an officer shot and killed 14-year-old Antonio Arce who had attempted to escape on foot while holding a toy gun with a visibly orange tip. This week, the family filed a lawsuit against the City of Tempe and the officer Joseph Jaen, who killed Antonio.
“My clients want accountability and what they call justice,” said Daniel Ortega, the family’s lawyer on Tuesday. “There is no question in my mind or in my client’s mind that this was a mistake.”
The family says that regardless of a mistake, that never gave this cop the right to kill their child who was 100 feet away and running in the opposite direction.
“There has to be accountability,” Ortega said.
As TFTP reported, last week, the Tempe Police Department released the video among a slew of other documents, 911 calls and personnel files on officer Jaen. The files and the video were released only after the family and the media made numerous requests. Still, the department waited almost a full year after Arce’s death to release it.
The files reveal a history of excessive force dating back to 2013. In total, this officer, who shot and killed a child holding a toy gun with an orange tip, had 19 separate incidents — not including the investigation for killing Arce — in his record.
As Arce’s family still mourns the loss of their child, this cop with a history of excessive force was granted an early retirement with full benefits for the rest of his life.
In December, Jean was awarded accidental disability retirement. In a unanimous vote, the Tempe Police Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Board granted former officer Joseph Jaen’s request for accidental disability. Jaen submitted the request back in June of 2019, AZ Family reported.
As we reported at the time, the Tempe Police Department officer, known only by his surname, Jaen, was responding to reports of a burglarized truck in an alleyway of the Phoenix suburb last January when he encountered the teen.
The body camera footage shows Officer Jaen encountering a grey pick-up truck, taking cover behind a trash can after noticing Arce was still present in the vehicle. After Jaen shouts “hey” to the suspect, Arce flees holding what authorities said appears to be a handgun. In reality, however, it was a legal airsoft gun with a visible orange tip.
The lawsuit describes Jaen’s negligence clearly and catches the officer in a lie:
In the aforementioned video, defendant Jaen reaches the truck and shouts, “Let me see your hands” as Antonio was running away, with his back facing the officer and never turning around. According to the report, defendant Jaen stated that he said “Stop Police or Tempe Police” to Antonio at that time. His body cam video clearly shows that at no time does defendant Jaen announce himself as Tempe Police. According to the report, defendant Jaen claimed that he believed Antonio had an actual handgun (which turned out to be a toy Airsoft gun with an orange tip) in his right hand but that he did not see Antonio attempt to manipulate it.
As Arce approaches the end of the alley, Jaen fires two shots, hitting the teenager once in the shoulder while the second shot hits a wall at the end of the alley.
“He’s got a handgun,” Jaen is heard saying on his radio as he continues his pursuit. Even if Antonio would’ve had an actual gun, he was running away and never pointed or otherwise threatened anyone with it.