Phoenix, AZ — Disturbing cell phone video was submitted to a local news outlet this week showing a Phoenix police officer shoot and kill an apparently mentally ill man as he walked away with one hand in cuffs. The incident has since sparked controversy online as police attempt to justify the killing of the shirtless, shoeless, mentally ill man.
On Wednesday, the victim was identified as 34-year-old Alexandre J. Aldrich. According to police, they were responding to a call from employees at a nearby hotel who contacted them about a man disturbing people and causing damage.
When officers arrived on the scene, they were able to put one of Aldrich’s hands in cuffs before he became non-compliant and attempted to escape. The shirtless shoeless Aldrich then took off and evaded them despite officers firing two tasers.
A passerby, Patrick McGee was on his way to work Tuesday morning when he saw the incident unfold. He pulled over and began filming in the reflection of his side view mirror.
As the video shows, Aldrich is simply walking away from the officer. As the officer keeps attempting to handcuff him, Aldrich pulls away and keeps going.
Just prior to the unnamed officer pulling out his gun and killing the mentally ill man, police originally claimed Aldrich “advanced on one police officer” with something in his hand. However, the only thing he had was the handcuffs around his wrist.
What’s more, according to McGee, who witnessed the shooting first hand, and the video, Aldrich only briefly appears to turn toward the officer before turning around to walk away once more just as the officer fires his weapon.
McGee says he did not think the officer was in danger of being struck by Aldrich and when asked by azfamily.com if he thought Aldrich was a threat, he said he didn’t think so.
“You know, at the time, I could tell you my gut reaction in initially seeing it — no. It did seem a little, you know any time you’re seeing someone being shot in real life, it seems excessive. Especially when the person doesn’t have shoes or a shirt and it’s the summer in Arizona. You just think, ‘Oh, that’s a mentally troubled person,'” said McGee.
According to police, however, who are trying to justify the shooting death of a mentally ill man in broad daylight, Aldrich was a deadly threat. What, exactly, according to police made him such a threat? Well, he had handcuffs on one hand.
“The suspect turned toward the officer, again, raising his hand which was handcuffed. The other handcuff had the open end, the jaw portion of that single strand toward the direction of the officer and at that point, that’s when the officer discharged his service weapon, ending the threat,” said Lt. Mark Tovar with the Phoenix Police Department.
Although the portion of the video which shows the shooting is covered by a light pole, it is clearly apparent that Aldrich had turned away before he was shot, indicating the unnecessary force used to “end the threat.”
The damage control has already begun and the narrative is being set. The “experts” and police officials are citing the short length of the video as well as the fact that the shooting takes place behind a light pole as justification for their officer’s deadly action.
After the shooting, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams released the following statement about the video:
Early this evening, video evidence of the officer involved shooting near 200 West Osborn Avenue was discovered. It appears to show a brief but valuable perspective of this incident. As with all evidence gathered during the course of this investigation, the video will be extensively reviewed, evaluated, and compared with all available evidence and reports in order to determine the facts and circumstances of the incident. We ask for patience as we work through this investigation. I also want to thank the community member for sharing this video, this allows for us to continue with transparency.
Part of this “transparency” however, would be letting the public know whether or not the shooting was captured on the officer’s body camera. But this remains a mystery as he may or may not have been wearing one. Phoenix police currently have 300 cameras and reportedly expect to buy up to 2,000 over the next five years.
Zoomed in and slowed down video below.