A Phoenix police officer has been indicted on a second-degree murder charge for the on-duty shooting of an unarmed suspect during a violent encounter in which he also shocked the victim with a stun gun and killed his dog, officials said Thursday.
Officer Richard Chrisman was served a summons on the indictment and was not taken into custody, said his defense attorney Craig Mehrens. The indictment also charged him with aggravated assault and misdemeanor cruelty to animals.
Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley said at a press conference that Chrisman will remain free on $150,000 bail he posted after his initial arrest on an aggravated assault charge last week. His arraignment is set for Oct. 21.
Chrisman allegedly pulled his pistol, put it against 29-year-old Danny Frank Rodriguez's head and told him he didn't need a warrant when Rodriguez ordered him out of his house on Oct. 5. During the next few minutes, Chrisman shocked Rodriguez with a stun gun, shot his pit bull, then fatally shot Rodriguez, according to a court document.
Records show another officer told investigators he saw no reason for Chrisman to shoot.
Mehrens said his client was justified in shooting Rodriguez and did not put his gun against his head as the other officer reportedly said.
In announcing the charges, Romley said he's supported and stood by law enforcement officers throughout his career, grieving with them when one is killed or injured.
"But we as citizens put our trust and our lives in their hands, and when one violates and abuses that trust, we must hold them accountable to the community for that breach," he said. "We must assure the victims and the community that the criminal justice process will be fair, transparent, and objective. And when justice is done, we must heal and move on."
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