The Mesa police department, whose officers are known for employing excessive and often lethal force against unarmed people, has been in the headlines this week due to numerous lawsuits alleging that same behaviour. Benjamin Taylor, a civil rights attorney, is presently suing the department for excessive force in two instances, including one in which police opened fire on an unarmed father with his hands up, surrounded by his five children.
Lorenzo Jones, the father, had just handed over his youngest kid to the child's mother when cops opened fire.
"Once they put their hands up and surrender to law enforcement authorities, they cease to be a danger, and therefore should not be shot or killed," Taylor told ABC 15 this week.
To be clear, Jones is accused of assaulting a lady and a kid and, if found guilty, deserves to face the consequences. The police were called to the home that day after Jones reportedly struck his fiancée's sister in the face at least three times, forcing her to collapse. Her children then tried to intervene to prevent him from attacking their mother, and Jones allegedly struck and pushed them before fleeing the residence.
If he did conduct the offences mentioned above, he should be imprisoned. However, since the SWAT team opened fire on him with less deadly weapons in front of his children, risking their lives, he will almost certainly get a taxpayer-funded settlement rather than serving his sentence.
According to authorities, Jones failed to appear in court for the incident mentioned above, and therefore a warrant for his arrest was issued. The SWAT squad serving the contract is seen in the video below.
On July 16, 2020, when Mesa SWAT arrived to serve the warrant, Jones, a lady, and five children emerged. A neighbour recorded the encounter and the following child endangerment.
As seen in the video, Jones attempts to convince the police that he did attend for his court date and therefore could not have a warrant for failure to appear. He then obeys the SWAT teams' commands, including putting his hands up. But, despite his complete cooperation, cops fired on him.
"He was no longer a danger in the presence of his children, and the use of disproportionate force should have resulted in de-escalation at the time," Taylor said.
Cops continued shooting bean bag rounds at Jones as he writhed in agony on the ground.
Police say they opened fire on Jones after being informed he was armed. However, camera footage shows him naked, cooperative, and with his hands in the air as they begin filming.
According to the report, police were informed Jones had a firearm and were placed on "high alert." They assert that Jones was disobeying and used non-lethal force to coerce him into compliance after the children were removed from his near proximity.
However, the video clearly demonstrates that this is not the case since they started the fire on Jones when the infant was immediately behind him.
"This is unbelievable," Tenisha Gaston, Jones' fiancée, remarked. "My two-year-old kid sat and said, 'I don't want to go to prison.' My two-year-old should not be speaking such things."
"The Mesa police department has a history of bullying the neighbourhood, of harassing its own citizens," Taylor said. "It was unnecessary for him to be murdered in front of his children."
Taylor also represents Angel Benitez's family, who had his hands up and was unarmed when police shot him. Regrettably for Benetiz, cops fired live ammunition and murdered him. Benitez was assassinated only two months after Jones was slain by cops.
"Almost every day, his mother weeps for the death of her little son," Taylor said.
As previously documented, the Mesa police department has a lengthy and brutal history, including the execution of unarmed dads. Just ask Daniel Shaver's family, who was assassinated by Mesa police officer Philip Brailsford. Shaver was pleading for his life, sobbing, crawling on his stomach, then on his hands and knees, and was shot to death by Brailsford as he reached back to pull up his shorts that had fallen down as he crawled.
Rather than facing decades in prison for killing an unarmed father of three. He then promptly resigned from police enforcement, having won the equivalent of a lottery prize, and is currently receiving his pension, which he will continue to do for the remainder of his years.