Ryan Remington, 32, who was fired by Tuscon Police last year, was charged Wednesday by a grand jury of ‘recklessly’ causing the death Richard Lee Richards, 61, after bodycam video caught the cop of firing nine rounds into the back and side of the suspect who was accused of stealing a toolbox from Walmart on November 30, 2021.
Richards allegedly flashed a knife at a store employee when asked for a receipt for the product.
‘Here’s your receipt,’ Richard reportedly told the clerk, showing the weapon.
Video shows Richards motoring across the parking lot from the Walmart in his wheelchair to a nearby Lowe’s where two officers confront him briefly ordering him to stop.
‘He’s got a knife in his other hand,’ someone can be heard on the bodycam video as Richards wheels up to the entrance of the big box store.
Seconds later Remington can be seen unloading his weapon on the accused shoplifter.
Rick Resch, a lawyer for Richards family, said that they were relieved that the officer will finally stand trial.
‘It has been a long and difficult past nine months for Mr. Richards’s family, but they are relieved that former Officer Ryan Remington has been indicted and will face the prospect of justice for the shooting and killing of Mr. Richards,’ Resch said in a statement.
In Arizona, manslaughter, a class two felony that carries a minimum seven years in prison, is defined as ‘recklessly causing the death of another person.’
Remington did not testify before the grand jury to present any self-defense arguments.
‘Manslaughter doesn’t even fit,’ Remington’s lawyer Mike Storie told KVOA. ‘I don’t want to get into legal arguments but it’s a legal fiction. So I’ll be very interested to read the grand jury transcript and find out what went on in that room when I was not present.’
Storie has said in the past that his client ‘had no non-lethal options.’
‘He did have a taser, but in his mind, he couldn’t use it because he didn’t feel he had the proper spread to deploy it, with the wheelchair between him and Richards,’ the lawyer said.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero lauded the charges against the former cop.
‘Now that the Grand Jury has issued an indictment and Ryan Remington will face criminal charges, it is a matter for the courts to adjudicate,’ she tweeted.
After an internal investigation following the shooting, Remington, a four-year veteran of the department, was canned by then-police Chief Chris Magnus.
The chief said he was ‘deeply disturbed and troubled’ by the ex-cop’s response.
‘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 and training,’ Magnus said.
Remington was working ‘security detail’ at the retail story in Midvale Park Shopping Center shortly after Thanksgiving 2021 when Richards was confronted by a Walmart employee who suspected the disabled man of shoplifting.
Richards has been confined to a wheelchair since getting hip surgery while in prison. His sister Victoria Richards told KGUN. She said that her brother had been had battled drug addiction and been in prison most of his life.
He volunteered to help fight forest fires while serving a sentence and fell off a cliff, hitting his head.
‘He came out with severe brain damage. He came to live with me and I taught him how to drive, how to count money. Everything came back pretty quickly but it was like having a child again,’ she told the TV news channel last year.
She and her brother had an argument and she dropped him off at the shopping center the night of the shooting.
Around 9:30 p.m. a Walmart employee confronted him about the toolbox and asked him to show proof of purchase.
That’s when he pulled a knife and refused to return the item, according to the store employee.
Video footage taken at the time show store security following Richards across the parking lot attempting to recover the merchandise.
‘If you want me to put down the knife, you’re going to have to shoot me,’ Richards reportedly told the Walmart worker.
Tucson Police were called and Officer Stephanie Taylor, Remington and another unidentified male officer responded.
The former officer can be heard saying, ‘Do not go into the store, sir.’
Taylor can also be heard yelling: ‘Stop now. You need to stop.’
At that moment, Remington’s bodycam footage shows him pulling out his gun and begin firing his service weapon from behind until Richards slumps over and fall out of his wheelchair.
Taylor can be heard saying she’s going to get something while another male officer, who was not identified by the TPD, begins to handcuff Richards.
Lowe’s security footage shows the three officers attending to Richards’ wounds, but he was shortly declared dead at the scene.
After his indictment, Remington has been ordered to be photographed and handcuffed at the Pima County Superior Court. He will be arraigned on the manslaughter charges on August 31.