Phoenix police say officer killed unarmed man
The Phoenix Police Department arrested one of its own officers on charges of assault with a deadly weapon following the shooting death of a 29-year-old man.
Richard Chrisman, 36, a nine-year veteran of the force, shot and killed the man after holding a gun to his temple and yelling at him, deploying a Taser on him, hitting him in the eyes with pepper spray, and killing his dog, according to the police report.
Chrisman on Wednesday was released on bond, assisted financially by the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association. "PLEA believes our peer and member is not a flight risk," said Mark Spencer, PLEA Board President.
"PLEA believes it is reasonable for a nine-year productive Phoenix police officer to be at home with his family as this criminal process unfolds," Spencer added.
Chrisman and fellow Officer Sergio Virgillo were called out to a domestic fight between a mother and son near Third Street and Central Avenue on Tuesday.
Police said the son, Danny Rodriguez, 29, was committing criminal damage inside his mother's trailer when they arrived. The mother, Elvira Fernandez, said Rodriguez had argued with her, damaged her property, and that she left because she was afraid he would assault her, according to the police report.
However, Rodriguez said she told police not to hurt her son.
"I said just ask him to leave," Fernandez said. "They killed him for no reason. They just shot him. It's wrong what happened. It's not right the way it went down."
The report outlines this series of events: The officers went to the trailer upon the mother's request and Chrisman entered to speak with Rodriguez. Virgillo was behind Chrisman.
Rodriguez entered the living room and began telling the officers, specifically Chrisman, they had no right to be in the trailer and they needed a warrant or would need to leave.
A verbal exchange began and Chrisman placed the muzzle of his pistol against Rodriguez's temple, saying, "I don't need no warrant, (expletive)."
Virgillo said there was no threat being made toward either officer and that he didn't know why Chrisman would have placed his gun against Rodriguez's temple.
Chrisman then returned his pistol to his holster. He tried to grab Rodriguez's arms in an attempt to detain him and Virgillo attempted to assist. The two officers were unable to restrain Rodriguez.
Chrisman used his Taser on Rodriguez, who dropped to the floor. Chrisman knelt by Rodriguez, but when the Taser deployment ended they both stood up.
Virgillo then used his Taser on Rodriguez, but when the Taser ended Rodriguez pulled the probes from his chest.
Chrisman next sprayed Rodriguez in the eyes with pepper spray from about 1 foot away. He also pulled his pistol and shot a pit bull that was in the living room.
Virgillo said in the follow-up report that the dog had been barking but had not tried to attack either of the officers.
Rodriguez began arguing with Chrisman about why he shot the dog. Rodriguez said he wanted to leave on his bicycle. Chrisman and Rodriguez became involved in a physical confrontation from across the bicycle's frame.
The struggle continued between the two until Chrisman drew his pistol again, raised it upward toward Rodriguez and shot him from a distance of about 2 to 3 feet as he was standing on the other side of the bicycle.
Virgillo later said he believed more than one shot was fired. He said both he and Rodriguez took a step back when Chrisman drew his gun.
Virgillo also said he did not feel threatened to the point of using a gun, and that at no time did he see a weapon in Rodriguez's hands.
Chrisman has not made a statement since being advised of his Miranda rights.
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