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Was Tempe police officer's shooting of teenager in violation of use of force policy?

Posted at 9:06 PM, Jan 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-23 06:26:41-05

TEMPE, AZ — Was the Tempe police officer's shooting of a 14-year-old boy a violation of the department's use of force policy? It is the main question at the center of an administrative investigation by the Tempe Police Department, which is also conducting the criminal investigation.

On Tuesday, Tempe police shared their use of force policy with ABC15, in the wake of Antonio Arce's death. The teenager was shot in the back shoulder as he ran away from a Tempe officer, who thought the boy had a real gun. It turned out to be a replica airsoft gun.

In the department's use of force policy, one of the first points is: "If practical, any use of force should be preceded by a verbal warning that force will be used if the suspect does not comply."

In the body camera footage, Officer Jaen's first words are, "Hey," then "Show me your hands," as Arce is sprinting away. The officer fires two shots four seconds later.

RELATED: Tempe police release bodycam video after teen burglary suspect shot and killed.

Another important part of the policy says: "Firearms will only be discharged in the performance of an officer’s duties and under the following circumstances:

c) When an officer reasonably believes it is necessary to defend themselves or another person from what the officer reasonably believes to be the use of, or imminent use of, deadly physical force.

d) To affect the arrest or prevent the escape from custody of a person who the officer reasonably believes has committed a felony involving the use or threatened use of deadly force and there is an imminent and great risk that person will cause death or serious injury if apprehension is delayed."

Arce was allegedly burglarizing a car, but that crime never involved the threat of deadly force.

Like many police shootings, different sides have different opinions. How the investigating officers and prosecuting attorneys interprate the law and the officer's actions will play a major role.