Off-duty Phoenix police officer accused of pulling gun on woman

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A woman claims Ofc. Julio Cardenas pulled a gun on her after a fender bender while off duty. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A woman claims Ofc. Julio Cardenas pulled a gun on her after a fender bender while off duty. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Timera Quinn believes the officer should face criminal charges. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Timera Quinn believes the officer should face criminal charges. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
He is also prominently featured on the department’s website and in YouTube videos talking about the hiring process. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) He is also prominently featured on the department’s website and in YouTube videos talking about the hiring process. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
A spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department confirmed Wednesday that the incident is being investigated by the department’s Professional Standards Bureau. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department confirmed Wednesday that the incident is being investigated by the department’s Professional Standards Bureau. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Phoenix police officer could face criminal charges and discipline on the job after a woman claimed he bumped into her car with his, took off and then pushed her and pulled a gun on her when she confronted him.

The officer involved has recently been one of “the faces” of the department. Ofc. Julio Cardenas was, up until a couple of months ago, assigned as a recruiter. He is one of the officers who have appeared on billboards through Phoenix and in a number of hiring videos produced by the department during its recent hiring push.

Timera Quinn said it all started on Mother’s Day night around 9:30 as she pulled off the Loop 101 at Camelback Road. She was stopped behind Cardenas waiting to turn right onto Camelback.

“His car jerked back or either he went in reverse. He took off really fast, and my cousin’s like, 'Where did he go,'” said Quinn.

At first, Quinn lost sight of the car that had just bumped into her vehicle's front end, but she pulled into the QuikTrip parking lot to find the car, its driver and a female passenger examining the back end of their car for damage.

“When we pulled up my cousin is like, 'Why did you run off? You hit us. Why didn’t you stop?'” said Quinn.

Quinn said she let her cousin handle the situation and never got out of her car at that point. She said her cousin told her that the driver, who they now know is Cardenas, said he did not want any trouble, did not want to call the police and just wanted to go inside the QT for something to drink.

There was no visible damage to either vehicle. So Quinn decided to call her dad, who owned the car, to let him know she was in a fender bender but there was no damage, and she was on her way home.

Quinn said she started to drive out of the convenience store parking lot and noticed in her rearview mirror Cardenas running after her car.

“He was chasing on foot. He was chasing the vehicle on foot. We turn around, and I opened my door, and I’m like, why are you chasing the car? And he’s like, 'Because you guys are trying to run off,'” said Quinn.

At that point, Quinn said she was confused. She got out of her car and a back and forth took place about who was at fault. Quinn said Cardenas pushed her and she pushed him back.

“I pushed him back, and he drew his weapon. And he’s like, ‘I’m an officer, get back in the car,’” said Quinn. 

According to Quinn, she had no way of knowing if the man was a police officer. By this time, the female passenger in the officer’s personal car had called 911.

“I was scared. I was frustrated. I had never had a gun pulled out on me. I have three children at home. This happened on Mother’s Day. With all the crime that’s going on with the police nowadays, he could have took [sic] my life, and I wouldn’t have knew [sic] what to do. I have not slept every [sic] since,” said Quinn. 

Troopers from the Department of Public Safety arrived. A spokesman for the agency confirmed they are investigating the woman’s claims as well as the accident. It is not clear if any criminal charges will be filed against any of the parties involved. Quinn believes Cardenas should be charged with leaving the scene of an accident and assault. She also said she believe he does not deserve to be a police officer.

“You can’t just go around pulling your gun out on people just because you're a cop. That’s not right. I was unarmed,” said Quinn.

She went on to say the off-duty officer's actions reflect poorly on his profession.

“I don’t think that people should be treated like that. That’s not fair. That’s not fair to the public. It’s not fair to other police officers. Because the ones that are actually doing their jobs… one bad apple ruins it all for everybody,” said Quinn.

A spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department confirmed Wednesday that the incident is being investigated by the department’s Professional Standards Bureau.

Cardenas is assigned to a patrol squad. But just a few months ago he was in recruiting. Cardenas’ picture can be seen on billboards all over the city as one of the “faces” of the Phoenix Police Department urging people to apply.

He is also prominently featured on the department’s website and in YouTube videos talking about the hiring process.

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