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Arizona man with gun shot dead by cop for answering door

Aug 10, 2020
Arizona man Ryan Whitaker, 40, was fatally shot by a Phoenix police officer responding to a noise complaint at his home on May 21 around 10pm.
Arizona man with gun shot dead by cop for answering door

Harrowing police body camera footage shows how a noise complaint in Arizona turned into a fatal police shooting w a man playing video games was shot in the back seconds after opening his front door.

On May 21 around 10pm Phoenix police knocked on the door of Ryan Whitaker, 40, following a complaint about noise from an upstairs neighbor.

Whitaker answered the door with a 9mmgun in hand because he heard a stranger knock on his apartment door in the middle of the night earlier that month, according to AZCentral.

He had been playing video games with his girlfriend Brandee Nees when he answered the door and was killed in less than a minute. 

Harrowing police body camera footage shows how a noise complaint in Arizona turned into a fatal police shooting w Ryan Whitaker, 40, was shot in the back seconds after opening his front door

In July Phoenix police released 30-minute video footage from Officer John Ferragamo's bodycamera showing the moment Officer Jeff Cooke shot Whitaker in the back at least two times. Whitaker's gun pictured circled in red

Whitaker's gun pictured in his right hand when he answered the door

The footage, which blurred his face, showed Whitaker put the gun behind his hand after realizing cops were at the door

He then slowly goes on the ground but within three seconds was fatally shot

When he opened the door he was confronted by two Phoenix police officers and they were surprised by the sight of his firearm.

Just three seconds later Phoenix Officer Jeff Cooke shot Whitaker in the back at least two times at point-blank range, killing him.

The horrific police shooting was just one of several in the police department this year that has reawakened criticism of the force’s use of deadly force.

Following public outrage over Whitaker’s death the police department released 30-minute bodycam worn by Officer John Ferragamo in July who was on the scene with Cooke.

'The Phoenix Police Department knew from the night of the shooting that this was a false and exaggerated 911 call,' Matthew Cunningham, the Whitaker’s family lawyer, said.

Those two 911 calls complained about people screaming each other and the caller said he couldn’t sleep because of the noise. The second call alleged the shouts escalated into a physical fight.

'It could be physical. I could say yeah if that makes anybody hurry on up. Get anybody fast,' the caller said to the 911 dispatcher.

In the police report, Cooke claimed he shot Whitaker because he feared for his life

After shots fired Whitaker’s girlfriend walks out shouting, 'Why did you guys shoot him?' She said they were making salsa and playing video games when cops knocked on the door

In the bodycam footage the officers are seen mocking the caller for not giving enough helpful information and insisting officers come quickly.

When they get to Whitaker’s door and knock, Whitaker opens it with his gun visible in his hands then he quickly takes a couple steps out of the apartment as Ferragamo flashes a light in his face.

Ferragamo repeatedly yells, 'Hands' after seeing the gun.

Whitaker then gets on his knees and raises his left hand and puts the gun behind his back, then Cooke fires into Whitaker’s back.

Whitaker’s family says he put the gun down on the ground and was still shot.

After shots fired Whitaker’s girlfriend walks out shouting, 'Why did you guys shoot him?'

'He just pulled a gun on us, ma’am,' Cooke replies.

'Because it's dark and someone just knocked on the door,' she yells back.    

Nees asks the officers why they’re t and they say they received a call about a fight between them.

Nees says that Whitaker heard a knock on his door in the middle of the night a few days earlier but when he looked through the door’s peephole, whoever knocked was gone.

She said that on another occasion a woman who used to live in the complex knocked on his door asking for help because she got into a fight with her partner.

Earlier that day Whitaker had attended the graduation of his daughter (right)

A petition named Justice for Ryan demanding answers into why police acted so quickly with force as racked up over 21,000 signatures

She said they were playing Crash Bandicoot on PlayStation and making salsa when the cops knocked.

'Literally we were making salsa and playing Crash Bandicoot, so t may have been some screaming,' she said. 'It wasn’t domestic violence or anything.'

Nees tells the cops that Whitaker had gone to his daughter’s high school graduation earlier that day.

In the police report, Cooke claimed he shot Whitaker because he feared for his life.

Ferragamo told another cop at the scene he would’ve done the same thing.

In the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officers, law enforcement forces across the country are facing criticism for use of excessive force.

Whitaker’s shooting is one of 11 Phoenix police shootings in 2020, five of which were fatal.

Now it’s up the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to determine whether they’ll file criminal charges against Cooke.

A petition named Justice for Ryan demanding answers into why police acted so quickly with force as racked up over 21,000 signatures. 

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