Shooting cases between police officers and civilians continually intensifies around the country. Despite a nationwide uproar, police officers’ brutality caused by the absence of accountability compels them to abuse their control.
Released bodycam footage on the shooting of Ryan Whitaker sparked outrage in the community. The incident transpired in Whitaker’s home in Ahwatukee, Arizona, after a neighbor’s 911 call in May.
John Ferragamo and Jeff Cooke, two police officers of Phoenix, responded to a 911 noise complaint at the victim’s apartment on the 21st of May.
The victim’s neighbors called 911 twice and told the police officials that a disturbing noise was heard from a neighboring home. He claimed that the sound could be a domestic dispute. When he made his second call, he told 911 that the incident was becoming more violent to ensure that the officials reach the venue.
When the police officers arrived at the location, they positioned themselves where the victim’s home residents cannot see them through the peephole. Ryan Whitaker, a resident, answered the door was holding a gun. The officers yelled and instructed Whitaker to drop his weapon. When Officer Cooke asked Whitaker to kneel, he complied, knelt, and put his handgun down. However, the police officer didn’t calm down and shot the victim three times. Whitaker, a 40-year-old, was killed on the spot.
A brief overview
This is not the first time a killing has happened in the Phoenix area. The series of killings initiated by police officers and the recent Whitaker incident triggered the public’s fury and resentment. Apparently, the police officers react violently on slight provocation. Recent accusations state that the officers do not interact well with the civilians and are always showing supreme authority.
When the police department was contacted, they proclaimed that the move was to address the emergency domestic violence call. Footage of the incident involving the concerned police officers was released recently. In the video, one of the officers said that the call could be exaggerated.
Meanwhile, Whitaker’s family have taken the issue to court. Matthew Cunningham, the family lawyer, vehemently claims that the police officers have overreacted at the victim’s apartment.
The lawyer stated that the 911 call was embellished, and the Phoenix Police Department was well aware of this.
During the neighbor’s second call to 911, he told that people were screaming in Whitaker’s apartment. He also claimed that he was unable to sleep because of the loud noises. The neighbor said words like “violent,” and, “it could be physical.”
Ferragamo mocked the actual 911 call. He said, “I am gonna say yes to get the officers here faster.”
During the investigations, the slow motion of the video showed how Whitaker reacted to the officers. The victim was seen lowering the gun before Officer Cooke decided to make his deadly move. The victim dropped, twisted in pain, and struggled to breathe. Whitaker’s girlfriend came outside after hearing the shooting and screamed, “Why did you shoot him?”
The girlfriend’s explanation
Whitaker’s girlfriend, Nees, was at the apartment during the incident. When officers asked for her testimony, she told that an unknown person had knocked the apartment several nights ago but left before Whitaker could answer it. Likewise, a lady had troubled the victim because she fought with her partner. These incidents kept the victim on edge, especially when someone knocks in the middle of the night.
As for the noises, Nees said that she and her partner were playing a video game.