As Americans across the country were gathering in parks and backyards to commemorate the July Fourth holiday, protesters in Phoenix were demanding city police be held accountable for shooting and killing a man while he was sat in his parked car.
Disturbing video of the Saturday shooting went viral shortly after being posted, the Washington Post reports. The video shows four Phoenix police officers surrounding the car in broad daylight, their weapons drawn toward the driver’s side door. After one of the cops warns the man to stop moving or “I will fucking shoot you,” the cops then fire a series of rounds—about 10 shots, in rapid succession—through the driver’s side window.
Enraged bystanders yelled at the cops, who kept their guns raised toward the vehicle even after shooting at the man—identified by local authorities as James Garcia—multiple times at close range.
As has happened before in these kinds of cases, witness and police accounts vary. Police say they were responding to a 911 call reporting an aggravated assault in Maryvale, a neighborhood located northwest of downtown Phoenix. When cops arrived, the caller pointed officers to a home where Garcia sat in a parked car on the driveway. The Phoenix Police Department says Garcia had a handgun and pointed it at officers; bystanders and friends of Garcia say he was unarmed and possibly asleep in the car.
“They put the gun on his head like this and they’re still telling him not to move, to get his hand off a gun he don’t have and then they shot him again,” Steven Merry, a friend of Garcia’s who says he has video of the incident, told local Fox affiliate KSAZ (h/t New York Times). “They made sure he was dead.”
Dozens of protesters marched through Phoenix streets on Sunday night calling for greater accountability and transparency in the case. Among the early demands from activists is the release of body camera footage of the shooting, which the Times notes has taken “weeks or months” to be released in similar cases.