In a press conference closed to the public, the Tempe police department on Wednesday showed reporters additional body camera footage from the fatal police shooting of 14-year-old Antonio Arce, offering a fuller picture of an incident that has led to protests and demands for greater transparency.
Tempe Police Lieutenant Mike Hayes said the department decided to show the video to reporters to dispel misconceptions that cops planted an airsoft gun on Arce after the January 16 fatal shooting. In a story published by the Arizona Republic on January 23, Arce’s family said they believed police planted the airsoft gun on their child after his death.
A video taken from the body camera of Officer Anna Cano, who responded to the scene after the shooting, appears to show a replica pellet handgun beneath Arce’s right arm as she approaches the boy’s body.
Police officials showed three body camera videos to reporters on Wednesday that show the moment Officer Joseph Jaen fatally shot Arce between the shoulder blades as he was fleeing the scene of a suspected burglary. The department showed extended footage from Officer Jaen’s body camera, as well as footage from the cameras of two officers who responded to the scene. Police had already released a shortened video taken from Jaen’s camera earlier this month.
Police prohibited reporters from taking audio or video recordings during the press conference. Hayes said Tempe Police would not be releasing the videos to the public out of respect for the family and concern that they could “sway public opinion” as the department conducts criminal and internal investigations over the shooting.
Along with showing the videos to reporters, Hayes said the department also offered to show Arce’s family the footage on Wednesday.
Arce's family is scheduled to give a press conference with the community organizing group Poder in Action at 2 p.m. today. (UPDATE: The press conference was later canceled.)
Here’s what the three body cameras show:
Officer Joseph Jaen:
The first two minutes of the Jaen's body camera video, taken from the officer's perspective, have already been released to the public.
In those two minutes, Jaen responds in his vehicle to an alley at 4500 East Fair Lane in Tempe after a 911 caller reported a burglary of a gray pickup truck. Jaen exits his vehicle when he sees the truck in question and hides behind a plastic garbage can.
In Jaen's blurry video, Arce can be seen through the windshield of the truck holding a black object. Jaen draws his service weapon as Arce exits the truck from the passenger door and begins running down the alley away from the officer.
Jaen yells "let me see your hands," shortly before firing two shots. One of the shots hit Arce between his shoulder blades, causing him to collapse, while the second shot hit an alley wall. This is the moment that the publicly released video ends.
The longer footage presented to reporters shows Officer Jaen continuing to run after Arce, who manages to continue moving through the alley despite being shot.
Jaen turns a corner to discover Arce lying face-down on a residential street. The 14-year-old appears to briefly lift his head.
Jaen stands behind the alley corner with his gun still drawn, pointed at Arce. He shouts, "Let me see your hands" and "I will shoot you again" toward Arce before saying into his radio, "One suspect down." The officer can also be heard calling for backup and shouting numerous expletives.
Soon, Officer Jaen says into his radio, "It looks like he is not breathing anymore." He is still standing behind the corner with his gun drawn.
Officer Jaen says into the radio that Arce appears to be a "Hispanic male in his mid 40s." He is still standing behind the corner with his gun drawn.
Two officers, including Officer Anna Cano, arrive on the scene minutes later. Cano tells Jaen that she and the other officer will handle the situation and instructs Jaen to put away his gun.
Jaen moves away from the corner, standing near the scene for the next two minutes. At about eight minutes into the video, two officers, Officers Cano and David Lewis, are standing next to Arce's body, looking down. Lewis places handcuffs on Arce.
At this point or shortly after this point, Jaen appears to get a glimpse of Arce's face and the airsoft gun.
"It's just a fucking kid," Jaen says. "It's a fucking toy gun, man."
Jaen can be heard weeping. He turns off his audio recorder and begins walking back through the alley toward his police vehicle. The video ends.
Officer Anna Cano:
Cano's video begins with her exiting her vehicle at the scene of the shooting with her gun drawn. She is accompanied by an officer in training.
At about one minute, Cano approaches Jaen and says, "Why don't you just go. Let us take this. Put the gun down." About 20 seconds later, she calls for paramedics while approaching Arce's body with the trainee.
As Cano approaches Arce's body, a pellet handgun appears to lie beneath Arce's right arm, a red tip at the front of the barrel showing that it is a replica.
Cano says to someone, "He's dead, man."
"We have to start CPR on him," Cano says while Officer Lewis places handcuffs on Arce.
Officer Lewis begins administering CPR to Arce. Lewis continues to perform CPR on Arce until about four minutes and thirty seconds into the video, when paramedics arrive and continue take over.
At about four minutes and 50 seconds, Officer Cano removes Arce's handcuffs. The paramedics continue to attend to Arce for the rest of the video. At about six minutes, paramedics put Arce on a stretcher.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The rest of the video shows Cano driving her police vehicle, following the ambulance carrying Arce.
Officer David Lewis:
Lewis' video begins with him exiting his vehicle, separate from Cano's vehicle, at the scene of the shooting. He immediately approaches Officer Jaen and says, "you're good" and "good job."
The video shows the same events as Cano's video, but from Lewis' perspective. He places the handcuffs on Arce and performing CPR on him for several minutes before paramedics show up.