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Phoenix police involved in more than 25 shootings in 2020

Protesters rally Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Phoenix demanding the Phoenix City Council defund the Phoenix Police Department. The protest is a result of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Phoenix police officers were involved in 26 shootings in 2020, according to statistics compiled by KTAR News 92.3 FM.

The total is a 73% increase from the 15 in 2019, but still below the 2018 record of 44 shootings that involved Phoenix officers.

The number of officer-involved shootings around the Valley, as well as the country, sparked protests against police brutality and racial injustice throughout the spring and summer.

In July, protests erupted in Phoenix after two officers shot and killed 28-year-old James Garcia at a residence near 56th and and Glenrosa avenues. While searching for a suspect in a stabbing incident, police found Garcia, who they later noted did not match the description of the man they were looking for.

After speaking with police, Garcia refused to get out of his car, rolled up his window and pulled out a gun, authorities said. He refused orders to drop the gun and repeatedly told officers to shoot him and then lifted the gun, prompting officers to fire, police said.

Garcia’s family filed a $10 million notice of claim against the city of Phoenix.

The city also gained national attention from the north Phoenix shooting death of 28-year-old Dion Johnson, who was shot and killed by an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper at the Loop 101 and Tatum Boulevard on May 25.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams told KTAR News in September that the department implemented new policies this year including body-worn cameras and a change to its use-of-force tactics, getting rid of neck holds to restrain suspects.

“As with any police department, any agency, we do have more work to do – we don’t shy away from it,” Williams said.

There were 50 officer-involved shootings in 2020 across the Valley, according to KTAR News statistics.

Besides the Phoenix Police Department and DPS, the other agencies involved in shootings were the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and police departments in Apache Junction, Chandler, El Mirage, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Peoria, Tempe and Scottsdale.

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