Phoenix police plan to fire officer who fatally shot Ryan Whitaker

Jul 22, 2021, 11:11 AM | Updated: 5:05 pm

(Phoenix Police Department Screenshot)...

(Phoenix Police Department Screenshot)

(Phoenix Police Department Screenshot)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department plans to fire the officer who fatally shot a man who answered his apartment door while carrying his gun in a May 2020 incident prosecutors called “a tragedy.”

Officer Jeff Cooke wasn’t criminally charged after body camera video (WARNING: Graphic content) showed he shot Ryan Whitaker, 40, three times in the doorway of his Ahwatukee residence as he was backing away on May 21, 2020.

“After extensive review of the totality of the circumstances, Chief Williams has notified Officer Cooke of the intent to move forward to end his employment with the Phoenix Police Department,” Sgt. Ann Justus told KTAR News 92.3 FM in an email.

Cooke and Officer John Ferragamo were responding to a neighbor’s 911 call reporting a domestic dispute. The investigation found no signs of an altercation, only that Whitaker and his girlfriend were playing a loud videogame, according to a statement from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Prosecutors concluded that Whitaker wasn’t a threat but it was understandable why Cooke didn’t see it that way.

The department’s Use of Force Board reviewed the incident in May and recommended the incident be designated as within policy.

“The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association is disappointed in the decision by the Phoenix Police Department to terminate Officer Jeff Cooke due to a shooting deemed in-policy by the Department’s Use of Force Board and will support him through the appeal process,” PLEA said in a statement.

Whitaker’s family has called for both Cooke and Ferragamo to be fired and for Cooke to be prosecuted for murder. In December, the Phoenix City Council approved a $3 million settlement with the family.

Justus said the administrative process is ongoing. Cooke remains on administrative leave.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

File photo showing a U.S. Border Patrol logo. Adbiel Martinez-Barrera, 21, received a sentence of 1...

Man sentenced to 13 months for entering US illegally, assaulting border agent in Arizona

A Mexican national was sentenced to over a year in federal prison for entering the United States illegally and assaulting a Border Patrol agent in Arizona.

3 minutes ago

Photos show the scene of a hot-air balloon mishap near 22nd Avenue and Deer Valley Road in Phoenix,...

Hot-air balloon mishap in north Phoenix damages light pole, but nobody hurt

Nobody was injured in a hot-air balloon mishap in north Phoenix on Thursday morning, but a light pole was damaged, authorities said.

1 hour ago


KTAR Video

Video: What comes next as more details emerge about UNLV shooting suspect?

Professor of Global Security & Intelligence at Embry-Riddle, Steve Hooper, joined The Mike Broomhead Show via phone to discuss the latest details to emerge regarding the University of Nevada, Las Vegas shooting. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

2 hours ago

The mugshot taken of Lori Vallow Daybell when she was booked into a Phoenix jail on Thursday, Nov. ...

Associated Press

Convicted killer Lori Vallow Daybell pleads not guilty to Arizona charges

Lori Vallow Daybell pleaded not guilty to charges in Arizona of conspiring to kill her estranged husband and her niece’s ex-husband.

2 hours ago

Def Leppard, left, and Journey are scheduled to perform at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona, on Aug....

Kevin Stone

Def Leppard, Journey joining forces for 2024 stadium tour with August date in Phoenix

Get ready to hold up your lighter and sing along when Def Leppard and Journey stop in Phoenix next summer on their co-headlining tour.

3 hours ago

Follow @DannyShapiro13...

Sponsored Content by Collins Comfort

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]


Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.

Phoenix police plan to fire officer who fatally shot Ryan Whitaker