By Josefina Morales
On the evening of November 29, off-duty Tuscon Police Department (TPD) Officer Ryan Remington murdered Richard Lee Richards, a man in a motorized wheelchair, for the alleged crime of shoplifting a toolbox from Walmart. Remington cowardly shot Richards from behind as Richards was moving away. On Saturday, community members in Tucson held protests denouncing Remington’s heinous murder of Richards.
A store employee alerted Remington to Richards as he moved in his wheelchair across the parking lot to the entrance of a nearby Lowe’s hardware store. Working on site at the time as a security officer, Remington was not on official police duty. Backup police body camera footage shows that Richards attempted to enter the store as police ordered him to stop, when suddenly, Remington shot Richards nine times from behind, and his lifeless body dropped forward onto the floor. Remington appeared to drop a cell phone and a few small items as he fell. Remington moved quickly to handcuff him despite him being clearly incapacitated and unarmed.
Remington was fired from the police department within a day of the fatal shooting. Remington’s lawyer, Mike Storie, announced that Remington will likely appeal his swift firing from TPD, hinting that the Walmart employee and Remington “fearing” for their lives should be used as justification for the killing. Remington also claims Richards had pulled a knife on him.
Following the murder, local bourgeois media outlet, Tuscon.com published Richards’ criminal record to reinforce the police narrative that Remington was correct to execute Richards for the supposed crime of taking one item from a corporation worth over $400 billion.
The police kill working class and poor people as part of their primary purpose to protect the private property of the capitalist rulers of this society. Even protecting the most minor piece of property may become the cause for execution when a poor person is the alleged thief.
This October, Pittsburgh police killed an unarmed, Black, homeless man, Jim Rogers, for supposedly stealing a bike. Rogers had taken the bike, which was part of a yard sale, for a short ride, immediately returning it to where he found it. Officer Keith Edmonds responded to a call about Rogers riding the bike, harassing him upon arrival. He soon attacked Rogers, tasing him at least eight times. Other officers arrived and joined in on the brutality. Rogers went into cardiac arrest as officers drove him to the county jail, and was diverted to a local hospital in an unresponsive state. He died the next morning on October 14.
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