The crime rate in Phoenix has declined steadily since the 1990’s, although there has been a bit of an uptick in the past few years. The rate is more or less on a par with other cities and with the nation as a whole. Nevertheless, the police say that assaults against police officers are on the rise this year, and that those assaults are the primary factor in “officer-involved shootings.” Those who accuse the police of increased violence claim that the assault charges are often used as a cover-up in cases of police brutality. So the question is, which group – the police or the citizens – is the primary cause of increased police violence. Here are a few cases that shed some light on the issue.
Examples of the “police brutality/citizen assault” issues
Before we go into specific cases, we understand that there are situations in which a person may be legitimately charged with assault (or aggravated assault) on a police officer. On the other hand, there many cases that suggest that the assault charges are often a ruse to deflect the attention away from the unnecessarily violent acts of police officers. Here are some examples:
- A 44-year old bling man mistakenly walked near a police officer in a convenience store bathroom. The blind man was tackled to the ground by the cop, and then jailed and charged with aggravated assault. The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office decided not to prosecute the charge, noting that there was little chance of obtaining a conviction.
- In June, Alex Andrich was shot and killed by police. The police justification for the shooting was that Andrich was advancing on the officer holding something in his hand the officer deemed a threat. The “threat” turned out to be the handcuffs the officer had just affixed to Andrich’s wrist.
- Police claimed self-defense in the shooting of Edward Brown, which left Brown a paraplegic. The cops said that Brown tried to get the officer’s gun, grabbing the barrel. There was no DNA found on the gun to support the charge. More importantly, Brown was shot in the back!
In addition to the issues noted in these cases, the police accounts have been challenged based upon witness videos that conflict with the police versions of what happened. All in all, the police explanation for the increase in police violence – that the increase is being caused by the citizens – appears suspect.
The Feldman Law Firm PLLC
1 E. Washington St #2240
Phoenix, AZ 85004