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Castro mentions 14-year-old boy killed by Tempe police during debate

Democratic presidential candidate former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro speaks during a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Art, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

PHOENIX — Candidate Julian Castro referenced a 14-year-old boy shot and killed by a Tempe police officer earlier this year as part of a response about police violence during Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate.

Castro rattled off a list of minorities killed by police officers as a contrast to Dylann Roof, the white male who killed nine people in a church shooting in 2015 and was taken into custody without incident.

Antonio Arce was fatally shot by an officer while fleeing and carrying a toy gun on Jan. 15.

The fatal shooting remains under review for possible criminal charges by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

“What about Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, LaQuan McDonald, Sandra Bland, Pamela Turner, Antonio Arce?” asked Castro.

“I’m proud I’m the only candidate so far that has put forward legislation that would reform our policing system in America and make sure that no matter what the color of our skin is, including Latinos who are mistreated too oftentimes by police.”

Police violence was a hot topic during the first of two nights of the Democratic debates in Miami.

The issue has reached a fever pitch locally following the force case involving Dravon Ames, Iesha Harper and their two small children, in addition to Arce’s death.

Phoenix police followed Ames’ vehicle, in which Harper, a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old were passengers, in response to a shoplifting report at a nearby Family Dollar store in May.

The family has been saying the incident involved a doll the 4-year-old took from the store.

Bystander videos of the incident, which propelled the case into national headlines, show an officer roughly handling Ames and at one point kicking his leg after he was handcuffed.

They also show an officer with his gun pulled threatening Harper, who is pregnant, and using expletives while she is holding the baby.

The family filed a claim of notice earlier this month, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, seeking $10 million.

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