Philadelphia, PA — A tragedy unfolded last week in Philadelphia after a 12-year-old boy was shot in the back and killed. The boy was running from several police officers when two of them opened fire. Police have since claimed that even though 12-year-old Thomas Siderio was running away, he was still a threat. Apparently that narrative is now changing, however, as the officer who fired the fatal shot has been recommended for firing — not charged.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw announced that the officer will be suspended for 30 days, starting Friday, after which she intends to dismiss him for violating the department’s “use-of-force directive.”
“Based off of the evidence that I reviewed, it was clear that the use-of-force policy was violated,” Outlaw said during a press briefing.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, immediately expressed his support for the decision.
As we continue to investigate the police-involved shooting of a 12-year-old boy, @PPDCommish is taking direct action to suspend the shooting officer, with the intent to dismiss after 30 days due to violations of PPD’s Use of Force directive. I fully support this decision.
— Jim #VaxUpPhilly Kenney (@PhillyMayor) March 8, 2022
Outlaw declined to identify any of the officers involved but police sources with direct knowledge of the investigation said the officer was Edsaul Mendoza, a five-year veteran assigned to a task force in South Philadelphia, according to the Philly Inquirer.
According to the Inquirer, Outlaw declined to specify how Mendoza had violated departmental guidelines, except to say: “It was clear that the use-of-force policy was violated.” She said evidence showed it was “certain” that Mendoza — whom she referred to only as “officer number 1″ — was the one who fired the shot that struck and killed Thomas.
The incident unfolded on March 1, as four plainclothes officers, in an unmarked car, saw the boy and another child standing on the street corner. The officers claimed that one of the children appeared to be holding a handgun.
According to police, as they activated their lights in the undercover vehicle, the officers heard gunfire and a bullet came through the back passenger side of the vehicle. The officers stopped the car at which point two of them exited and shot at Thomas, who they claimed was holding a gun.
Two officers fired at least one round at Thomas, missing him.
After the initial gunfire, Mendoza reportedly chased after Thomas as he fled. That officer fired two times with one of the bullets striking Thomas in his back. Police said the bullet exited out of his chest.
According to police, the bullet fired into their cruiser, shattered the glass which injured one of the officers inside. That officer was taken to the hospital and treated for the glass in his eye.
Thomas, however, was not so lucky. After he was shot in the back by police, he was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.
After the 12-year-old was killed, police were clear to point out that just because he was running away, does not mean he wasn’t a threat.
Naish told reporters that the fact Thomas was running away “doesn’t mean that he wasn’t continuing to be a threat to the officers.” We will have to take their word for it as well, being that Naish said the officers were not equipped with body cameras.
Adding to the already suspicious nature of this incident is the fact that police initially admitted that they don’t know if Thomas was the person who fired the bullet.
Police said Thomas was carrying a semiautomatic handgun that was equipped with a laser and had been reported stolen. But Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Naish, who oversees investigations, said during a virtual briefing Wednesday that authorities can’t definitively say the boy fired the shot.
They have since changed this stance and claim that Thomas did fire the gun — a point the family’s attorney disputes, calling it “egregious speculation.”
It’s “unbelievable that [Outlaw] would refuse to provide factual evidence to the press about the details of the shooting that she has in her current possession, and then speculate egregiously as to whether or not my client had a gun in his hands, let alone fired one,” said the lawyer, J. Connor Corcoran.
Corcoran told reporters that no gun powder residue test had been conducted to even determine if Thomas had fired the gun. What’s more, the mother of the 17-year-old boy with Thomas that night said her son disputes the official account and claims police did not turn on their lights or identify themselves as police before the shots were fired — a claim disputed by Outlaw.
That 17-year-old boy was detained for questioning before being released without charges.
Thomas was a seventh-grader at Sharswood Elementary School, who neighbors described as having a turbulent childhood but “always tried to put a smile on everybody’s face.”
Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist
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