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- Arizona police officers used their Tasers on an unarmed black man as he held his one-year-old child in his arms, newly released body camera footage shows.
- The video shows how a domestic violence call escalated within seconds of the officers’ arrival, when they barged into his apartment and immediately drew their Tasers.
- The video shows Oakry screaming and collapsing face-down onto a pile of garbage bags before one officer scoops up the child and several others handcuff Oakry.
- The Tempe Police Department has defended the officers’ actions and accused Oakry of endangering the child by refusing to comply with officers’ demands.
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Arizona police officers tased an unarmed black man as he held his one-year-old son in his arms, newly released body camera footage shows.
The incident occurred on July 15 when officers from the Tempe Police Department responded to a domestic violence call. The confrontation escalated within seconds of the officers’ arrival. They barged into the apartment immediately, demanded Oakry put his hands behind his back, and drew their Tasers.
“Bro, you’re not allowed in here,” Oakry said as he backed into the apartment and away from the officers.
The footage shows a heated argument between Oakry and the officers, as they demanded he put his hands on his head. At one point, Oakry picked up his diaper-clad one-year-old child while he argued with the officers, repeatedly refusing their demands to put the baby down.
After several minutes, when Oakry was backed into a corner of the apartment, three officers deployed their Tasers at the same time while Oakry held the child.
The footage shows Oakry screaming and collapsing face-down onto a pile of garbage bags before one officer scoops up the child and several others handcuff Oakry.
“All you had to do was drop the kid,” one officer told Oakry. “This would have been so much easier.”
Activists say the officers’ actions traumatized Oakry’s children
The incident has stoked outrage among local civil liberties advocates, who have accused the officers of violating Oakry’s Fourth Amendment rights and using excessive force in front of his children.
“Everything about the police conduct was wrong,” Zarra Teacola of the Phoenix chapter of Black Lives Matter told reporters at a press conference Tuesday. “They came in with no communication or negotiation, they gave him no reason… when they pushed into his house without his consent and raised their Taser guns on him in front of these four little babies who will be traumatized for life.”
But the Tempe Police Department has defended the officers’ actions and accused Oakry of endangering the child by refusing to comply with officers’ demands.
These innocent children and their mother were placed in harm’s way by the suspect. And any suggestion that anyone else but the suspect put people in harm’s way is irresponsible,” Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir told reporters at a press conference Tuesday.
Moir also said that the Taser did not injure or make contact with the child Oakry was holding and that the device did not “conduct energy” into the child through Oakry’s body.
Authorities also said that the officers had the right to enter Oakry’s home “to safeguard those children and conduct a welfare check.”
After the incident, Oakry was originally charged with child endangerment and assault, but the Arizona Republic reported that the chargers were dismissed.
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