U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- The Phoenix City Council has voted to pay $3 Million to settle the Ryan Whitaker police shooting lawsuit.
On 21 May 2020, Phoenix police answered an ambivalent noise complaint that was mischaracterized as a domestic disturbance. It was at about 10:53 p.m. The complainant was desperate to get some sleep. From the 9:11 call, in the 13 August AmmoLand article:
Yeah, and its getting really loud and they been doing it for the last hour. I gotta get it to work tomorrow, and I can’t get no sleep.
These guys have been noisy constantly… Every time I come back, these guys are noisier than hell. Always fighting.
Okay does it sound like it’s escalated to anything physical or still just sound verbal?
Oh. It could be physical, I..I could say yeah if that makes anybody hurry up on, get over here any faster.
Anything to indicate it might be physical?
I hear slamming of doors and… I don’t know. Somebody could be gettin’ thrown into a door for all I know. But I hear all kinds of banging.
The police go to the apartment. Officers take up positions on each side of the door, well separated. One officer knocks on the door, and announces “Phoenix police”, in a slightly elevated voice.
Ryan Whitaker answered the door, with a pistol held in his hand down at his side. He did so because of previous suspicious activity. It is a prudent thing to do. It would have been more prudent to determine who was outside, before opening the door. The police had moved to the sides of the door, which made them difficult to detect through the peephole.
He was unaware the knock was from the police. The Phoenix City Councilman admitted Ryan did not do anything wrong or illegal.
Ryan immediately complied with police instructions, crouching down and putting down the pistol. One of the police shot him in the back and killed him as he was complying. It happened very quickly.
Ryan’s girlfriend immediately asked the officers: Why did you shoot him!
The Phoenix City Council voted to settle the lawsuit. From azfamily.com:
The City of Phoenix city council unanimously passed a settlement connected to a deadly officer-involved shooting in Ahwatukee.
In a 9-0 vote on Wednesday afternoon, a $3,000,000 settlement was approved to go to the family of Ryan Whitaker.
Ryan might have lived if the police had immediately called for medical assistance, according to Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio. From Reason.com:
In voting to approve the $3 million settlement, Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio zeroed in on what came next: “We don’t know if he would have lived or not,” he said, according to the local Fox affiliate, “but the fact of the matter is it showed a strong callousness from those individuals that were there to not immediately call for [medical] help.” The outfit describes DiCiccio as “usually vocal on his support of law enforcement.”
Police apologists have claimed it is proper police policy to shoot any person who shows up at their door, armed, even before they have any time to comply with commands. The slightest indication the police made some attempt to announce themselves is considered sufficient to show the victim knew the police were there.
That is not the actual state of the law or of most police policy or training.
In the original story at AmmoLand, retired firearms and tactics trainer told the author the City of Phoenix would be paying a lot of money because the police officer fired too quickly. From the article:
I did not tell him any conclusions I had. First, he watched the body camera video from the officer who did not shoot. His conclusion was the video was inconclusive, because we could not see Ryan’s right hand after he stepped back.
Then he watched the video from the body camera of the officer who shot.
He said: “He shot too soon. The Phoenix PD is going to be paying out a lot of money. ”
The retired firearms and tactics trainer was prophetic.
A commenter on the AmmoLand article claimed to be a retired police officer who completed a great deal of training and conducted “some training” from the Phoenix area. He claimed the police were completely justified, that the response was “textbook”. From Gerry:
I spent over 30 years as a police officer, as if that’s anyone’s business. I’ve been to all the training. I conducted some of the training, for that matter, as an FTO. What these cops did was textbook.
If what the officers did “was textbook” in the Phoenix P.D., it is pointing toward the origin of the problem. It is not “textbook” in most police departments around the country.
The investigation continues. No charges have been filed against either police officer at this time.
Police have a difficult job. In a nation of 330 million people, mistakes are bound to occur. Large numbers of police interactions, about 50-100 million a year, mean extraordinary events are certain to occur, because of the nature of reality.
If there were no unpredicted events, there could not be free will. We would all be automatons. Only God is free from mistakes.
No one is perfect. Trust in the police makes all the difference between a civilized society and a police state.
Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.