“You don’t go in ready to shoot first and ask questions later. There’s a lot of things you can do before you ever pull out a weapon,” Chappell added.
Wichita, Kansas - Witnesses in the shooting death of unarmed 23-year-old John Paul Quintero have come forward to refute police statements regarding the shooting death of Quintero.
The incident, which took place on Saturday night, began when " target="_blank">Quintero’s family called 911, saying Quintero was under the influence of alcohol and had threatened them with a knife at a party.
According to police, Quintero was “belligerent” and wouldn’t comply with the two officers who arrived at the scene eight minutes later, while seated in an SUV with his father, parked in front of the house.
Ted McAdams and his wife live in the unit behind where the party was going on. They ran outside after they heard screaming. McAdams claims to have witnessed the tragic events leading up to the death of Quintero.
According to McAdams, Quintero was “trying to talk to the male officer with compliance” and “had his arms up until he got tasered, [when] his arms went down to his side.”
Multiple witnesses have stated that Quintero had his hands up and seemed to be compliant, until another officer employed a taser on him, subsequently causing Quintero to lower his hands, which then lead to Martin shooting him in the chest with an AR-15, according to KAKE.com.
Police claim Quintero reached toward an officer's waistband, but McAdams refutes that statement, claiming that he saw the incident and never saw Quintero make such a move.
It must be noted, that claiming a person reached for an officer's waistband/weapon, is one of the standard police refrains when attempting to justify use of deadly force in the killing unarmed citizens.
A former state school board member from Wichita and vice chairman of the city’s Racial Profiling Advisory Board, Walt Chappell, told the Wichita Eagle he had a feeling the officers “made a conscious decision to escalate rather than de-escalate.”
The mere fact that the female officer walked up with a rifle “would indicate to me they were already loaded for bear,” Chappell said.
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McAdams says he's not alone in thinking this situation was taken too far.
"After that all the neighbors and I threw a little fit at the cops because I've got a wife and a newborn and the safety issue and not just that, the way the cops handled themselves."
He added, "If he was told to do something, yeah he should've done it, but that officer had, to my advice and my suggestion, she shouldn't have ever shot him."
Another witness, Dustin Deckard, was driving home on Saturday afternoon when he witnessed a cop aiming her rifle at an unarmed man with his hands up.
“It was clearly a younger man in his early 20s of Hispanic descent, and he was wearing a blue jersey and he had his hands up,” said Deckard, referring to the Wichita Police.
“He was behind the SUV, and the female officer was mostly directly in front of him, a little bit to his left. Both the officers were on either side of him, but he was facing the female officer who had her rifle up, and she was looking down the sight.”
Deckard added, “It was very eerie, because the shooting must have occurred seconds after. When I passed, I slowed down, so I only got a couple seconds of a view.”
Chappell made a very clear point when he stated,
“You don’t go in ready to shoot first and ask questions later. There’s a lot of things you can do before you ever pull out a weapon."
The militarized, us vs. them, mindset of US cops, which escalate already tense situations into outright violent altercations, is a plague upon law enforcement and the public that they claim to serve.
Here is audio of the initial 9-1-1 call by the family. All they wanted was help in stopping a fight, instead, a young man was gunned down.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, freethinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay's work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.