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Tensions rise during Tempe City Council meeting after teen shot and killed

Posted: 10:57 PM, Jan 31, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-01 01:02:08-05
Tempe Officer Jaen
Antonio Arce

TEMPE, AZ — It was a night of passion and protest at Thursday night’s Tempe City Council meeting.

Nearly 100 people addressed the mayor, police chief, and council about the death of Antonio Arce.

The meeting taking place just one day after the Tempe Police Department showed ten members of the media and Arce’s family the final minutes of unedited body camera, where the teen is seen lying on the sidewalk after being shot.

Arce, 14, was shot once in the back by a Tempe police officer while running away. Police allege he was burglarizing a vehicle and they said he had a airsoft gun, which was found near his body. The officer told dispatchers he thought the weapon was real.

Since the shooting, there has been tension between community activists and the police department.

Tempe police have claimed transparency by releasing body camera footage and the officer's name within days of the shooting. Activists and family members have alleged a cover-up.

Thursday night it came to a head when both sides were in the same room. Activists and protesters yelling “it’s our meeting now” and consistently heckling Chief Sylvia Moir.

The community members in attendance repeatedly called for Chief Moir’s firing and that Officer Joseph Jaen be fired and charged with murder.

Right now, Tempe police are still conducting an internal criminal and administrative review of the shooting and death of Arce.

“The boy murdered by that cop cannot come back to life,” said one woman, as she addressed the council.

“Just because you wear a uniform does not mean you get to shoot children,” added another man.

For nearly three hours, dozens of people spoke about Antonio Arce and railed against the city and Chief Moir.

“I don’t trust you all,” said one woman.

“This is absolutely disgraceful,” said another woman.

“I have seen your officers act in ways that I have never expected,” said one man, pointing directly at the chief.

Towards the end of the meeting, one activist demanded the council draft a resolution calling for the chief and officer’s terminations.

“We demand a resolution be written tonight,” he yelled at the council, even offering a pen.

That resolution never happened.

At the end of the meeting, Mayor Mark Mitchell acknowledged the shooting is not a good situation and it is gaining national attention.

Proof of that, Presidential Candidate Julian Castro tweeted twice Thursday about Antonio Arce, even writing a letter that was read at the meeting.

The community in attendance vowed they were not going away until their demands were met.

“We demand that Jaen be fired. And we want him charged. And not only do we want him charged, we want him jail,” said one of the activist leaders.

See the map below for every media-reported officer- and deputy-involved shooting in the Valley in 2018 and 2019.