Shocking police dashcam footage has emerged showing an Arizona cop speeding to intentionally ram into an armed alleged thief in what police claim was a supposed bid to capture him.
The incident was recorded February 19 on the dashcam of two Marana police cars that were following the suspect, Mario Valencia.
According to Marana police, Valencia was fleeing from a Walmart where he had allegedly stolen a rifle. He had already been intercepted by police near a post office, where he pointed the rifle at his head multiple times and threatened suicide before firing the gun in another direction and fleeing.
In the two videos, Mario Valencia is captured walking along a street in Marana, northwest of Tucson, while carrying a rifle that he points fires into the air.
A police officer in one of the patrol cars remarks: ‘One round just went out. He’s definitely loaded.’ He then tells his colleague, Officer Michael Rapiejko, in the other vehicle: “Unit right there just Stand off, Stand off the gun is loaded’ then he repeats himself ‘Unit on cartera park stay off.’ Seconds later Officer Michael Rapiejko’s vehicle can be heard and seen accelerating past. Seconds later, his vehicle goes up on the curb and smashes into the suspect’s body, sending him flying into the air.
The other officer can be heard shouting in shock: ‘Oh! Jesus Christ! Man down.’
“Everything in the video seems to point towards an obvious excessive use of force. It is miraculous that my client isn’t dead,” said attorney Michelle Cohen-Metzger.
According to KOLD, Police Chief Terry Rozema said that Rapiejko’s move actually saved the suspect’s life. Valencia was hospitalized for two days before being charged with aggravated assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon, discharging a firearm inside the city limits, and shoplifting involving a firearm.
Valencia was taken to University of Arizona Medical Center in serious condition. He stayed there two days before being booked into jail. Police were investigating whether Valencia was connected to three earlier incidents in Tucson.