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Phoenix Police ordered to appear in court over fatal shooting

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PHOENIX – A judge has ordered the city of Phoenix to appear in court after the family of a young man shot and killed by police filed a special action complaint to see the case report.

The family of Jacob Harris said in the Maricopa County Superior Court filing that they had repeatedly asked police for access to the report of the 19-year-old’s January death.

The paperwork said Harris was shot in the back near 92nd Avenue and Camelback Road.

Police were looking for suspects in an armed robbery when they stopped a car carrying Harris and three others.

According to the documents, the family, which has planned to file a wrongful death lawsuit, began requesting the police report Feb. 19. Former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, representing the Harrises, called the delays unreasonable.

“It is now almost half of the year after the event, which is plenty of time for the police to have prepared report and made it available to the public pursuant to legitimate request, including this one,” a page in the filing read.

The family needs the report as part of the process to submit a notice of claim. A claim must be filed within 180 days of the incident, which would be July 11.

“Reports made by police officers are public record and must be disclosed to the public when requested and must be disclosed in a timely manner,” KTAR News 92.3 FM legal analyst Monica Lindstrom said.

Sgt. Tommy Thompson said in an email to KTAR News that the department did not discuss pending litigation.

In April, an independent review on the record 44 Phoenix officer-involved shootings in 2018 said there was no evidence that “policy or training is flawed or misguided.” The study also said executive staff had taken “reasonable steps to strengthen both policy and training.”

Chief Jeri Williams said she was committed to implementing the review’s nine recommendations for improvements.

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