Phoenix police shot a man to death inside of a parked car on the Fourth of July, sparking protests across the city.
Video of the incident, taken by a bystander, showed four officers surrounding a car that James Porter Garcia, 28, was sitting in, in the driveway of his friend’s home.
“Hey, stop f***ing moving. I will f***ing shoot you,” one officer is heard yelling at the car as two officers surrounded the car with their guns drawn.
The police department said in a statement that officers responded to a 911 call before 1 p.m. Saturday from a man who said another man had tried to kill him and that the person had come back with a knife and was “threatening to harm him again.”
Police say that the officers arrived in the neighborhood, and the victim “pointed out a specific home,” saying the suspect was there. When the cops got closer to the home, they noticed a man sitting in a car parked in the driveway. Authorities said the officers explained to Garcia they were investigating an assault.
“As the conversation continued, 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. Officers instructed the man to drop the handgun. He did not drop the gun but began to lift it. One officer saw the gun pointed at a fellow officer and broke the passenger window, trying to distract the suspect. Two other officers fired their weapons into the vehicle at the man,” the department said in a statement.
Garcia was described as an “all-around good guy” by friends.
His death sparked protests over the weekend in Phoenix, with people demanding justice and for the police to release bodycam video.
“I think the political climate that we’re in regarding police shootings has made police departments, including the city of Phoenix, more willing to provide information on the onset of such a tragedy,” said Daniel Ortega, the lawyer representing Garcia’s family, said according to AZ Central. “Whether that will continue or if they will do it in this situation will be remained to be seen.”
— The W.E. Rising Project (@WERisingProject) July 6, 2020
Phoenix police have not yet identified the officers but released a 44-second bodycam video from one of the officers arriving at the scene after the shooting on Monday, but didn’t release footage showing the events leading up to the shooting. Though the footage showed the officers removing a gun from the vehicle, friends of the victim maintain he was unarmed, as others demand the release of all the footage.
“They put the gun on his head like this and they’re still telling him not to move, to get his hand off a gun he don’t have and then they shot him again,” Garcia’s friend, Steven Merry told KSAZ.
“What we want is the whole footage,” Viri Hernandez, the director of Poder in Action, a local activist group, said on Monday. “Every single body camera. Every single cop who showed up. Everything from when they were driving to when they got there to when they killed him.”