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Ryan Remington: Tucson police officer who fatally shot man in wheelchair has been fired, department says

CNN logo CNN 1/7/2022 By Claudia Dominguez and Amy Simonson, CNN
Tucson Police Department bodycam footage shows officers approaching a man in a wheelchair © Tucson Police Department Tucson Police Department bodycam footage shows officers approaching a man in a wheelchair

Ryan Remington, the Tucson police officer who fatally shot a man in a motorized wheelchair, was terminated on Wednesday after an internal investigation came to an end, according to an updated statement posted on the police department's website.

The termination is effective immediately, the statement said, and he can appeal the decision to the Tucson Civil Service Commission within 10 days, the statement said.

Remington will appeal the termination, his attorney told CNN on Thursday.

"The termination itself was totally predictable, given former Chief's Mangus' irresponsible public comments," attorney Michael Storie said, referring to former Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, who was sworn in last month as Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The police department began the process of firing Remington the day after he opened fire on November 29 on a shoplifting suspect accused of pulling a knife when confronted outside a Walmart.

Video released by the Tucson Police Department showed Remington several steps behind the man in the wheelchair, identified by police as 61-year-old Richard Lee Richards. The officer asked Richards to stop before firing nine rounds -- striking him in the back and side -- as the man headed into another store, according to police.

"Because of legally required due process, no additional information may be provided until the appeal process and any subsequent proceedings have been completed," the police statement on Remington's termination said.

Former police chief: Shooting was 'a clear violation of department policy'

Richards had been accused of stealing a toolbox from Walmart when an employee contacted an off-duty Tucson police officer who was working a special duty assignment at the store, according to a statement at the time from Magnus.

Remington joined the Walmart employee in the parking lot and followed Richards while "attempting to gain his cooperation," Magnus said.

"According to the employee, he caught up with Mr. Richards outside as he fled the store and asked to see a receipt for the toolbox. Instead of providing the receipt, Mr. Richards brandished a knife and said, 'Here's your receipt.'"

Magnus said that Remington wanted Richards to stop and to surrender his knife.

"Mr. Richards refused to comply, and instead continued to head through the Walmart and Lowe's parking lots," Magnus said.

"I have a male suspect that just shoplifted, left in front of me, he pulled a knife on me," Remington radioed in.

"According to the Walmart employee, Mr. Richards said, 'If you want me to put down the knife, you're going to have to shoot me.'"

A second officer arrived on the scene to assist Remington.

Both officers were a short distance behind Richards when they warned him not to enter the store, the chief said.

The video shows Richards beginning to enter the Lowe's when Remington tells him, "Do not go into the store, sir." Seconds later, the officer begins shooting Richards, who slumps over and falls out of his chair and onto the ground.

Remington fired nine rounds, according to Magnus.

"His use of deadly force in this incident is a clear violation of department policy and directly contradicts multiple aspects of our use of force training," Magnus said.

Attorney: Videos 'constitute only half of the story'

Surveillance and police body camera video released by police provide three camera views: a Walmart parking lot security camera, a police body camera, and a Lowe's security camera. Two of the videos show the fatal shooting of Richards as he is rolling away from officers through the Lowe's parking lot. Playing throughout the video clips are portions of police radio communications.

The video did not include timestamps -- so it's unclear how much time passed between clips. CNN requested the raw footage from the Tucson Police Department, but the request was declined.

At the time, Remington's attorney told CNN that the "selected clips that were presented at that press conference constitute only half of the story."

"In any of these types of things, if you cut and paste a video, it will not properly lay out the officer's impressions and state of mind leading to a decision to employ force of any kind," Storie said.

A clip of Lowe's security camera footage shows Richards lying on the ground immediately after being shot, as the officer appears to be pulling his hands behind his back to handcuff him.

Remington was the only officer that discharged his weapon, according to Magnus.

Medical care was called to the scene "but a short time later Mr. Richards was declared dead," he said.

Magnus said the incident would be reviewed by the Pima County Attorney's Office.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect Chris Mangus is the former Tucson Police Chief.

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