‘He armed himself’: Phoenix police push back against body camera footage pleas in driveway shooting

PHOENIX — Several dozen protesters marched on the Phoenix Police Department Sunday night, demanding body camera footage be released of the fatal officer involved Fourth of July shooting of a man, who was sitting in a parked car, multiple media outlets reported.

Activists and Phoenix City Councilman Carlos Garcia identified the man who was killed as James Porter Garcia, 28, which police confirmed on Monday, The New York Times reported.

The officers involved in the shooting have not been identified.

“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,” Garcia, the council member, wrote on Facebook Sunday in a post that included video of expletive-laden exchange between officers and James Porter Garcia before gunfire erupted.

The police department, meanwhile, released a statement stating officers responded to a 911 call shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday from a caller who said a man had tried to kill him, that he had returned with a knife and that the unidentified individual was “threatening to harm him again.”

CRITICAL INCIDENT BRIEFING: Officer-Involved Shooting On July 4, 2020, shortly before 1pm, a 911 caller asked for...

Posted by Phoenix Police Department on Saturday, July 4, 2020

After arriving on scene, officers said the caller "pointed out a specific home" and alleged his attacker was there, The Washington Post reported.

The officers then requested backup before locating a man sitting in a parked car in a driveway, the department stated.

Officers are said to have told the man sitting in the vehicle that they were investigating an aggravated assault, The Hill reported.

“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,” the department stated, adding that the man began to later “lift his weapon.”

The department said that one officer broke a passenger window to attempt to distract the man after seeing him point his weapon at a fellow officer. As that happened, two other officers fired into the vehicle, the department stated.

No officers were injured in the incident, and James Porter Garcia was transported to a local hospital before being pronounced dead, the Times reported.

According to The Arizona Republic, protest group W.E. Rising Project organized a demonstration Sunday night that included a march to the Phoenix Police Department's Maryvale Estrella Mountain Precinct, where an estimated 50 protesters were reportedly met by officers in riot gear as they approached the station.

Video showed protesters chanting "Black Lives Matter" and "We don't see no riot here! Why are you in riot gear?" The Hill reported.

Meanwhile, Phoenix Police Department spokeswoman Sgt. Mercedes Fortune countered claims that James Porter Garcia was unarmed.

"The suspect was not asleep in the vehicle, he armed himself, which is what lead to the officer involved shooting," Fortune said in an email to the Republic.

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