TEMPE, Ariz. (KNXV/CNN) – People are debating whether police in Tempe crossed the line when they used stun guns on a man holding his toddler son.
Tempe Police say officers used Tasers on a domestic violence suspect while the suspect was holding his toddler son. (Source: KNXV/Tempe Police/Black Lives Matter/CNN)
An attorney for Ivaughn Oakry said officers had no right to enter his apartment back in June, and never should have used Tasers on him while he was holding his 1-year-old son.
But Tempe Police argue they were lawfully allowed to enter because it was a domestic violence investigation.
In the 911 call that Tempe Police said brought them in contact with Oakry on June 15, a woman says she was pushed out of the apartment, with her three kids still inside.
Police body cam video posted online this week shows a responding officer finding Oakry at the front door.
The officer enters and begins giving Oakry commands.
Oakry picks up his 1-year-old son. Other officers enter a few moments later.
Oakry tells an officer he’s not putting his son down and tells him to get out of the home as the officer keeps giving commands.
Moments later, the officers hit Oakry with stun guns while he’s still holding his son.
The Washington Post reports that Oakry was struck with three Tasers.
Authorities said the child was not injured.
Oakry was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault and child endangerment, but those charges were later dropped, the Phoenix New Times reports.
"The police had no right to be in his home,” said Oakry’s attorney Heather Hamel.
“They didn’t have a search warrant and they didn't have consent. So, they had no right to be there making the commands that they did. He had every right to refuse to comply with those commands and to ask the officers to leave his home."
Late Tuesday afternoon, Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir defended her department, saying the officers were trying to ensure the safety of the woman who called police, and her children.
"These innocent children and their mother were placed in harm's way by the suspect,” Moir said. “And any suggestion that anyone else but this suspect put people in harm's way is irresponsible."
Tempe Police said they determined that no use of force violations were committed, but the officers involved will receive new training in de-escalation techniques.
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