Tempe City Council unanimously accepts $2M Antonio Arce settlement
PHOENIX — The Tempe City Council voted Thursday to unanimously accept a $2 million settlement agreement with the family of a 14-year-old boy who was killed in a 2019 police shooting.
The settlement provides a conclusion to the case regarding Antonio Arce, who was shot and killed by then-Tempe police officer Joseph Jaen on Jan. 15, 2019.
The agreement includes a provision that the city cannot be sued by the family for any other claims related to the incident.
Arce’s parents filed their intent to sue for $5 million July 2019.
On the day of the incident, Jaen responded to a 911 call about a suspicious truck parked in an alley behind a home off 48th Street between Southern Avenue and Baseline Road.
When he approached the truck, Arce exited from the vehicle’s passenger side and fled on foot while carrying the airsoft replica handgun, which had an orange tip to signify it wasn’t a real firearm.
Jaen gave chase and shot Arce, who didn’t comply with commands to stop, in the back.
Police initially said Jaen perceived a threat when Arce turned back, but body camera footage appeared to show that the teen never turned back and was running away when Jaen fired. Jaen and two witnesses reported seeing Arce’s finger on the trigger, Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel said in January.
Criminal charges were never filed against Jaen, who resigned from the force in May 2019.
Adel’s office said in January it didn’t believe it was likely a jury would convict Jaen given the evidence and legal precedence.
The city has taken part in community conversations regarding concerns with policing and racial tension as a result of the shooting.
Earlier in June, Tempe decided to explore formulating a plan to address opportunity gaps that put the city’s youth at risk.