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Family demands more answers from Phoenix police in deadly July 4 shooting of James Garcia

James Garcia police shooting
Posted at 6:07 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 21:10:45-04

PHOENIX — The family of James Garcia, who was fatally shot by Phoenix police on July 4, says the release of body camera video this week showing the shooting leaves unanswered questions.

Garcia, 28, was in a car in the driveway as officers sought a stabbing suspect. Garcia refused to get out of the vehicle, and body camera video shows an officer repeatedly yelling for him to put down a gun. Phoenix police have said Garcia raised the gun toward officers, when two then opened fire.

"As a mother, I am broken-hearted for the tragic loss of my son James," said his mother, Denice Garcia.

Denice Garcia disputed the notion that her son raised a gun. The body-worn camera video does not clearly show what her son's hand was doing when officers fired.

"I've looked at that video, dissected it slowly, and nowhere did I see a gun," she said. "What I did see my son doing was talking with his hands, holding a cigarette and then trying to defend himself, but at no point did I ever see a gun."

Garcia's family also called for the release of additional video in the investigation. Phoenix police on Monday released multiple videos from the body-worn cameras equipped with the officers directly involved in the incident.

"We long to receive the complete footage that was taken," Denice Garcia said. "The body cams that were not provided. So...based on what we received recently, there are still a lot of unanswered questions."

Video was released this week from the body cameras worn by the officers directly involved in the shooting. Asked about additional video, a Phoenix police spokesperson told ABC15 additional body-worn camera video does exist and is available, although it does not capture the incident, comparing it to an officer maintaining a perimeter position.

The police spokesperson also told ABC15 via email their police vehicles are not equipped with dash cameras. Garcia's sister Tuesday morning called for the release of video from an SUV parked in front of her brother's car, other vehicles, and additional body-camera video.

"We are definitely demanding transparency and an expedited process," said State Representative Richard Andrade (D-29), who joined the family Tuesday morning.

Garcia's family believes the release of additional video will shed more light on what occurred that day.

"The story that they're portraying, my brother to be some bad person, it's all false," said Garcia's sister, Jacqueline Fernandez.

ABC15 requested an interview with Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams on Tuesday and was told she is unavailable.

The case has not yet been turned over to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office for review.