Thursday, December 10, 2020

Phoenix will Pay $3 Million to Settle Ryan Whitaker Police Shooting Lawsuit

Image from Youtube video, scaled and cropped,  arrow and text below arrow added by Dean Weingarten.

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 which was mischaracterized as a domestic disturbance. It was 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 side of the door, which made them difficult to detect through the peephole.

He was unaware the knock was from 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.

Here is the bodycam video

Ryan's girlfriend immediately asked the officers: Why did you shoot him!

The Phoenix City Coucil voted to settle the lawsuit.  From

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

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 the victim has 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, a 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 points 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.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

By not charging the officer for not calling EMT's they are sending out the threat, that if you get shot by cops, your not getting medical any time soon. Money for life don't seem like a fare trade. This happens a lot more than you know. And with the know knock warrants now how many will be killed at the hand for trying to defend your home.
No knock warrants open up a whole can of worms. You and your wife are asleep and the front door kicks in but you don't hear the words POLICE now you have to decide is it a home invasion or is it the cops. If your an old Vet like me your gonna shoot through your bed room door when they reach it. So who's to blame when people die now?
Crap shoot at best. But better tried by 12 than carried by 6.