WATCH: Phoenix Cops Shoot Man in Car as Witnesses Record, Sparking Protests
A weekend video showing Phoenix police surrounding a car in front of a home and opening fire at the man sitting in the driver's seat has sparked protests and accusations that police are lying about the circumstances behind the shooting.
Phoenix police say they were responding to a 911 call Saturday about a man threatening another man with a knife. When they arrived at the location, the caller pointed to a home and told police the suspect was there.
After walking to the house, they discovered a man sitting inside a car in the front yard so they began talking to him. At one point, police say they ordered him out of the car which was when he produced a gun and pointed it at one of the officers which was when he was shot.
However, friends say the man whom they identify as James "Jay" Garcia was not only unarmed but was asleep when confronted by police. The video is recorded from across the street and does not show the man in the car. The camera, in fact, is pointed downwards when the shots ring out.
However, Phoenix City Councilman Carlos Garcia (no relation) has taken to Facebook to accuse police of creating a false narrative.
It does not shock us that despite all the scrutiny from community Phoenix PD continues to respond violently to calls. But, we must all continue to ask for transparency and accountability.
The department also issued a premature statement leaving out facts about the case. We cannot allow for dishonest narratives to be built by violent departments. We will continue to call for independent investigations into officer involved shootings.
Below is the full statement from Phoenix police:
On July 4, 2020, shortly before 1pm, a 911 caller asked for police assistance in the area of 5600 W. Glenrosa Ave. He said a man had tried to kill him a week prior and reported that the person responsible had returned with a knife and was threatening to harm him again.
Phoenix Police officers responded and made contact with the victim who pointed out a specific home where he said the stabbing suspect was currently located.
Officers requested additional backup and approached the home when they noticed an adult man sitting in a car parked in the driveway. Officers began talking with the man explaining they were investigating an aggravated 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.
Officers removed him from the vehicle and Phoenix Fire personnel transported him to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
There were no injuries to the officers or other civilians.
Activists have demanded body camera footage which might shed some light on the truth but Phoenix police has made no mention of when, and if, they plan to release the footage. Police have not said if he was the same man suspected of threatening the man with a knife.
UPDATE: Phoenix police released the following body cam footage showing a cop taking a gun out of the man's car in the moments after the shooting. Police say they won't release the rest of the footage because it could compromise the investigation.