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Video shows Glendale police tackling, shooting man holding forceps


PHOENIX – Body camera and dashboard footage posted online Thursday by the Glendale Police Department shows one officer tackling a man carrying a metal object and another officer fatally shooting the suspect during the ensuing struggle.

The footage is part of a 10½-minute critical incident briefing video about the Nov. 4 shooting in a Taco Bell parking lot at Olive and 43rd avenues.

The full video (WARNING: graphic images and language) includes audio from the 911 call that brought officers to the location around 5:15 p.m.

The caller, a security guard at a business that shares the parking lot, said the man had his head covered with rag or blanket and was holding “a sharp pole or object” and “pointing it towards his head and making all the customers uncomfortable.”

The police footage shows Matthew Rasmussen, identified as a 31-year-old transient, standing in the middle of a mostly empty parking lot.

His face and head are completely covered by a tan cloth object and he has a long, thin metal object in his right hand. Officers can be heard speculating about the nature of object, which turned out to be 12-inch tweezers-like forceps.

Rasmussen doesn’t move when a car backs out of a space and drives past him, about 10 feet away, on its way out.

An officer can be heard repeatedly requesting that Rasmussen drop the object, at times calling it a pipe. But Rasmussen just stands there and occasionally lifts the medical tool to the side of his head or up in the air.

While that is going on, another officer circles around behind Rasmussen and charges from behind to tackle him. Two other officers quickly converge.

The first officer and one of the others struggle with Rasmussen on the ground as he resists and swings the forceps. The third officer yells “move, move, move” and fires his weapon at Rasmussen three times.

Paramedics took him to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The shooting was the third involving Glendale police this year, according to statistics compiled by KTAR News 92.3 FM.

The Glendale Police Department conducts two reviews of all officer-involved shootings — an internal review and a criminal review — according to Lt. Jay O’Neill, who narrates the video.

He said the findings will be released when the investigations are completed, which could take several months to a year.

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