Parents of teen killed by Tempe officer file $5M claim against city, police
PHOENIX – The parents of Antonio Arce, the teenager fatally shot in January by a Tempe officer who has since resigned, have filed a $5 million notice of claim against the city and police department.
The filing is a precursor to a lawsuit, as required by Arizona law. A city spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter Tuesday, citing possible pending litigation.
Officer Joseph Jaen shot 14-year-old Arce on Jan. 15 after responding to a 911 call about a suspicious truck parked in an alley.
Arce was holding an airsoft pellet gun that police believe he took from the truck before running away from Jaen. The replica gun had an orange tip, signifying it wasn’t a real firearm.
According to ABC15, the claim says Jaen was more than 100 feet away from the fleeing Arce when he fired his weapon and had no reason “to conclude that he was in danger of serious injury or death.”
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office hasn’t yet made a decision about whether to file charges against Jaen.
Jaen, who had been on leave during the investigation, resigned in May after 14 years with the department.
In the weeks after the shooting, Tempe police released redacted body camera video and allowed media members to view unredacted footage.
In the video, Jaen can be heard yelling “let me see your hands” before firing twice at the teen, who kept running down the alley and around a corner.
Arce, who was struck once in the back, was found face down on a sidewalk. The unredacted video shows that officers didn’t perform life-saving measures until around seven minutes after the shooting.
Fire crews took over and transported Arce to the hospital, where he was declared dead.
When the shooting first happened, a Tempe police spokesman said Arce turned toward the Jaen, which the officer perceived as a threat.
But in the video, the teen doesn’t appear to slow down or turn back while fleeing.
Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro mentioned the case during last month’s debate as part of a response about police violence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.