The Tucson Police Department has swiftly distanced itself from an officer who shot dead a man in a motorized wheelchair. Police Chief Chris Magnus said on Tuesday he was "deeply disturbed and troubled" by what transpired on Monday night: Officer Ryan Remington responded to a report of a man who was allegedly armed with a knife and stole a toolbox from a Walmart. An employee there said that upon asking 61-year-old Richard Lee Richards to show his receipt for the toolbox, he revealed his knife and said "Here's your receipt." Police bodycam video shows Remington later going after Richards as he drove his wheelchair toward the entrance of a Lowe's across the street.
Remington yelled at Richards to keep out of the store, then fired nine shots, striking Richards in the back and side. The Arizona Republic reports Richards was pronounced dead a short time later. The New York Times reports surveillance video from Lowe's shows Remington handcuffing Richards, who made no movements. "His use of deadly force in this incident is a clear violation of department policy and directly contradicts multiple aspects of our use of force and training," Magnus said in a press conference. "As a result, the department moved earlier today to terminate Officer Remington," who has been a member of the Tucson police department for four years. KOLD reports it could take up to a week for the termination to be official.
Remington's lawyer, Mike Storie, described the chain of events as "unbelievable circumstances," saying, "This event happened roughly 24 hours ago, and we have a chief of police who has fired the officer and the mayor who is calling for his indictment," per the Times. Storie told the AP that Remington felt he "had no nonlethal options. He did have a Taser, but in his mind, he couldn't use it because he didn't feel he had the proper spread to deploy it, with the wheelchair between him and Richards."
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