A video started to circulate online showing the Phoenix police shooting and killing a man on the Fourth of July while he was in his own driveway. In the footage, you can hear bystanders begging the police not to shoot, but the officers still opened fire.
The victim was transported to a nearby hospital where he died from his injuries. Authorities did not reveal the deceased's name, yet the family confirmed to BuzzFeed that the man killed was James "Jay" Garcia.
The police department issued a statement on Saturday claiming that the officers were responding to a call from a person saying that a man who tried to kill them last week returned with a knife and was threatening harm The police arrived at the scene and requested additional backup after locating Garcia in his car. The officers say they told the man they were investigating an aggravated assault.
"As the conversation continued, officers instructed the man to get out of the vehicle," the statement reads. "At this point, he refused, instead rolling up his window and arming himself with a handgun."
Yet citizens aren't convinced that this is the case. Some people believe this is another example of excessive force, and the protest group W.E. Rising Project organized a demonstration on Sunday. A group of close to 50 people marched to the Phoenix Police Department's Maryvale Estrella Mountain Precinct where they were met by police in riot gear.
"We are the ones protecting your rights," protester Andrea Alvarado said to the crowd. "The officers standing around us want to take away your rights away. They kill innocent civilians while we protest for their lives."
The protesters also have the support of some local government figures such as Councilman Carlos Garcia. "It does not shock us that despite all the scrutiny from community Phoenix PD continues to respond violently to calls," he said. "But, we must all continue to ask for transparency and accountability."