Police officers in Arizona shot three beanbag rounds at a 26-year-old Black construction worker in front of his fiancée and their children late last week, according to ABC15 Arizona.
The incident, which took place in Mesa, Arizona, was captured on video by a neighbor. In the video clip, the man, Lorenzo Jones, can be seen emptying his pockets and giving his keys to his fiancée, Tenisha Gaston, while several young children were standing beside him. Despite putting his hands up and complying with the officer’s orders, Arizona police officers shot bean bags directly at Jones. As the young lady and children are screaming, they continue to shoot him three more times.
A video, caught on a mobile phone by a neighbor, Shampall Williams, was posted on Facebook.
“This is not right, said Gaston. “What’s going on in the world, and now I am dealing with this.“
Gaston witnessed the shooting as she and her children were standing with him as he was being shot.
“He is a good man,” Gaston said, “My kids were scared.”
Gaston met with a local pastor and a lawyer last Friday.
“There was no need for this,” said civil right attorney Benjamin Taylor. “Under the law, he was complying. He had his shirt off, no weapons on him. He wasn’t a threat.“
“In policing, we see a lot of excuses when we talk about force and excessive force and what was justified and what was not,” said Pastor Andre Miller. “Nobody reasonable is saying ‘Yeah, I would have shot this guy.’”
Jones has been charged with aggravated assault on an officer, three counts of aggravated assault on a minor, resisting arrest, marijuana possession, assault causing fear of physical injury.
In a statement, Mesa police chief Ken Cost said, “They [the officers] felt that he was armed and dangerous.” “It would be premature for me to comment on the split-second the officer made the decision.”
He stated that a use-of-force review should take about a week and he is not “going to jump to a conclusion on that until I have all the information.”
“We understand that any time force is used it raises a lot of questions. Less-lethal tools are exactly that, less lethal, and were developed to prevent violent actions, protect the public, save the lives of suspects as well as officers,” Mesa police said in Friday’s statement.