Police in Arizona said Tuesday that an officer who intentionally used his car last month to run into a suspect with a rifle probably saved the man’s life.
FOX2 reported the man’s lawyer strongly disagrees with the claim about the cop running him over saved his life.
Video of the incident has stirred debate about what type of force police should have used to detain a man with a gun.
“Everything in the video seems to point towards an obvious excessive use of force. It is miraculous that my client isn’t dead,” said attorney Michelle Cohen-Metzger.
The incident was recorded February 19 on the dashcam of two Marana police cars that were following the suspect, 36-year-old Mario Valencia.
According to CNN an Arizona police chief supported the officer’s decision to drive his car into an armed suspect.
“Although the move could have killed the suspect, deadly force was justified.” the police chief said.
Video of the incident, recorded February 19 by the dashboard cameras of two Marana police cars, shows one of the cars running into a suspect with who had a rifle in the city about a half hour from Tucson.
The suspect, 36-year-old Mario Valencia, survived and was hospitalized before being criminally charged.
In one of the dashcam videos, an officer who was tailing a walking Valencia at slow speed reports over the radio that the suspect has fired one round in the air with a rifle he is accused of stealing that morning from a Walmart.
Another patrol car zooms past, runs into the man from behind, then hits a short cinder block wall next to a driveway.
Video from Officer Michael Rapiejko’s camera shows Rapiejko’s vehicle running into Valencia, with the windshield smashing as the car hits the wall.
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