MARANA, Ariz. — Police in a Tucson suburb have released a video showing an officer using his cruiser to ram an armed suspect.
The footage from two different police cruisers shows the suspect walking down a street and firing a weapon into the air. A police officer can be heard telling his colleagues to stay back. Within seconds, a different officer uses his cruiser to ram the suspect. Video from that car shows his windshield breaking as the suspect flips in the air, as seen in a KOLD News 13 report.
KOLD 13 says the police officer accused is Michael Rapiejko, and the man who was hit is Mario Valencia. Rapiejko previously worked in Tucson and New York before joining the Marana Police Department.
According to Marana PD, Valencia was fleeing from a Walmart on Cortaro Road near Interstate 10 where he allegedly had stolen a rifle the morning of Feb. 19. Rapiejko then hit Valencia with his car just near Continental Ranch Self Storage.
Before that, Valencia pointed the rifle at his head multiple times and threatened suicide before fleeing again and firing the gun in another direction, according to KOLD 13. Police were investigating whether Valencia was connected to a crime spree in Tucson.
Valencia survived the incident and has been charged with several felonies. Marana Police Sgt. Chris Warren said Rapiejko was put on a standard administrative leave because the incident was considered use of force. The Pima County Attorney’s Office cleared Rapiejko of any wrongdoing and he is back on the force, Warren said.
The video, now getting attention across the U.S., comes at a time of heightened tension over the use of force by police across the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.