Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Thursday, October 27, 2016

Washington (AFP) — Arizona police released video showing an officer using his cruiser to intentionally run over a suspect, triggering new questions about what critics call excessive use of force by officers in the U.S.

In the dashcam video released Tuesday, a gunshot is heard before suspect Mario Valencia is seen walking down a street in the town of Marana on February 19 with a rifle.

He is seen firing a shot in the air and then proceeding down the street as police slowly trail him in their vehicles.

Then a police car driven by officer Michael Rapiejko is caught on the dashcam rushing past and slamming into Valencia from the back before plowing into a cinderblock wall.

Valencia survived the collision.

Marana police chief Terry Rozema defended the action, saying Valencia had refused to obey officers’ commands to put down the rifle and was approaching an office building.

“We can’t allow him to get to the point where he enters the office complex. We can’t allow him the opportunity to take somebody in the parking lot hostage to do a carjacking.”

“It’s graphic, it’s violent, but at the same token it warranted deadly force given all of the circumstances,” he said, adding that the police officer “would have been completely justified in shooting this individual.”

The dramatic incident capped a crosstown crime spree, according to police, which say Valencia was fleeing from a Walmart store where he had stolen the rifle.

An investigation is underway to see whether he is also linked to earlier crimes in Tucson.

But the violent encounter was only the latest in a series of incidents that critics say demonstrates a pattern of police brutality and racism across the United States.

Hundreds of people in two dozen cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, on Tuesday protested fresh police killings of unarmed black men.

Rally organizers say U.S. police have shot more than 90 unarmed people since January.

On Monday, a white volunteer deputy sheriff in Oklahoma was charged with second-degree manslaughter for shooting dead Eric Harris, 44, a suspect in an undercover gun-sale operation. He is now free on bail.

Last week, a South Carolina police officer was charged with murder after being filmed on video killing Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, as he fled a routine traffic stop on April 4.

The cellphone video shows the officer firing eight times as Scott was running away.

A series of killings last year of unarmed black men by mainly white police officers have sparked nationwide protests and raised charges of racism, reviving a national debate about the excessive use of police force.

The demonstrations were galvanized by the August 2014 police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in bitterly disputed circumstances. The officer involved in that case was not charged.

Photo: Elvert Barnes via Flickr

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 The National Memo
  • Daniel G

    So WHAT! They dropped the miscreant. Job well done officers.
    Should they have waited until he jacked a car? Or went into the office building with his RIFLE? He had already fired the weapon. No, he did the right thing and stopped the individual IMHO. The deputy will probably get reprimanded for wrecking a perfectly good cruiser when a bullet would have done the job…a waste of resources…but the threat was STOPPED.
    And by the way…I am a very left Dem but I hate the criminals being given free reign today. Stop em now.

    • Grannysmovin

      I agree that they had to prevent this man from walking around shooting a rifle into the air. There was no way of knowing what his intent was and he was armed and dangereous to the community and the police. There appears no attempt was made to have disarm him but this action -violent as it was- did safe the man’s life and officers and people in the community. How about not having laws that allows people to wallk around the streets armed.

      • How about upholding Constitutional rights? Oh, I forgot. Liberals only want those rights to apply to them, and only want to follow laws when it is convenient. I do, however, agree that this officer did the right thing, just as Wilson did the right thing.

        • hicusdicus

          Is it not amazing how people can pass judgment on violent actions they have never even remotely come in contact with. I need somebody to explain how a man with no arms is a danger unless he has to pee real bad and his zipper is stuck.

          • A 300 plus pound thug that had just tried to take the officers weapon. I’ve had similar encounters in my life, and had I had a firearm on me at the time, I would not have been left for dead along the street. Yes, it is amazing how people that have no clue of what they are talking about can make stupid comments. Sounds like most liberals I have encountered.

          • hicusdicus

            You have got to admit liberals are fun to screw with. They are almost as much fun as gun nuts. Boy howdy can I get a gun nut riled up. That is because I is one. I also have to stay away from sanctimonious Jesus people, it causes me to bite my tongue and that hurts.

      • hicusdicus

        How do you disarm a violent person with a loaded gun? One good way is to hit him with a moving vehicle as opposed to having a shoot out. If a person who has just committed a crime is walking along the street discharging a weapon you know all the intent you need to know. Until you are confronted with a situation as such don’t try and second guess.

  • Rick Staples

    It is my understanding that this individual had already invaded a home, forcibly stolen the rifle and ammo from a store, and fired numerous shots. I would never write a blank check for the cops, but this take down seems fully justified, and exactly what I would have done in their place. Would you prefer they shot him?