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Maricopa County attorney: Drop in officer-involved shootings in 2015

(AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Mark Rightmire)

PHOENIX — There were fewer officer-involved shootings in Maricopa County in 2015 than in the past few years, the county attorney’s office said Wednesday.

Police in the nation’s largest county shot at suspects 43 times in 2015, down from 59 instances in 2013 and below the five-year average of 47.

Every shooting by a police officer is reviewed by at least two separate entities: The agency for which the officer works and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office

“Even if a department were to clear someone from a policy perspective, we are still going to review it for a criminal complaint and vice versa,” County Attorney Bill Montgomery said.

As the county’s top prosecutor, Montgomery said it is his obligation to press charges against an officer who has violated the law.

“This office has never hesitated to charge a police officer with unlawful use-of-force where we can make the case, which is the same standard we would use for anything else, and we have successfully prosecuted dozens over the last several years,” he said.

Out of the 43 police shootings in 2015, Montgomery’s office has reviewed 20 of the cases. No charges were filed against any of the officers in the cases that were reviewed.

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