PHOENIX — A Phoenix police officer who shot and killed a man in Ahwatukee last year has been reinstated by the Civil Service Board.
Ryan Whitaker, 40, was shot in the back two times, less than three seconds after he answered the door of his Ahwatukee apartment in May 2020. He answered the door while holding a gun at his side, which his family said was because of recent issues with someone banging on their door at night. Body camera video shows Whitaker immediately moving the gun behind his back after seeing the officers. Officers scream “hands” and Whitaker backs up, lifts his left hand in the air, squats down, and puts the hand with the gun toward the floor.
Officer Jeff Cooke told investigators he fired his weapon because he believed the other officer was "in imminent danger."
"Today, the Civil Service Board ruled to reinstate Officer Jeff Cooke," Phoenix Police Department said in a statement Thursday night. "The ruling of the Civil Service Board is final and binding. The Phoenix Police Department is aware of the decision, and acknowledges the authority of the Civil Service Board."
Earlier this year, Phoenix police said they had started the process to fire Officer Cooke and he remained on administrative leave. The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association said it was "disappointed" in the move.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced in January 2021 that Officer Cooke would not face any charges in the incident.
The Phoenix City Council voted unanimously last December to approve a $3 million settlement with the Whitaker family.
Police said earlier this year that another officer who was involved, Officer Ferragamo, remained on full duty after the incident.