Arizona police release video of officer ramming armed suspect with vehicle
MARANA, Ariz., April 15 (UPI) — Police in Marana, Ariz., released a video of an officer ramming an armed suspect with a police cruiser, an action which they claim saved the suspect’s life.
Mario Valencia, 36, was wanted by police for a series of alleged crimes that led him to stealing a rifle and ammunition from a Walmart, according to police. He was walking down the street of West Coca Cola Place when he was approached by a police officer who was trailing Valencia slowly in his vehicle.
Valencia placed the end of the rifle underneath his chin and began walking away from the officer.
“Stand off, stand off, the gun is loaded,” the officer inside the first vehicle
“Oh, Jesus Christ. Man down,” the first officer said. Valencia was hospitalized in serious condition for two days before being released into police custody.
Police Chief Terry Rozema defended the officer’s actions, stating Valencia was walking with a loaded weapon into an area where hundreds of people worked.
“If we’re going to choose between maybe we’ll let him go a little bit farther and see what happens, or we’re going to take him out now and eliminate any opportunity he has to hurt somebody, you’re going to err on the side of, in favor of the innocent people,” Rozema told CNN. “Without a doubt.”
Valencia’s lawyer, Michelle Cohen-Metzger, disagrees. She argues police did nothing to de-escalate a situation where her client was “clearly suicidal, clearly in crisis.”
“Everything in the video seems to point towards an obvious excessive use of force. It is miraculous that my client isn’t dead,” Cohen-Metzger said. “I find it ludicrous to say that we’re saving this man’s life whose suicidal by almost killing him.”
“This officer made a split-second decision, and in retrospect, when all the dust clears, I think we look at this and say, yeah, there’s things we can learn from this but the entire community is safe, all the officers are safe, and even the suspect in this case is safe,” said Rozema, adding that police officers would have begun firing their weapons at Valencia had he continued to walk down the street with the weapon.