A dashcam video shows police officer Michael Rapiejk mowing down armed suspect Mario Valencia in Marana, Ariz., a half-hour outside of Tucson.

Cop Michael Rapiejk Runs Over Suspect

Valencia, 36, was walking down the sidewalk in Marana holding a rifle, which he had shot up into the air. Before officers started to close in on him, he’d allegedly stolen the gun and ammunition from a local Walmart, and had also robbed a 7-Eleven, committed arson at a church, and stolen a car, according to NBC News.

Police Chief Terry Rozema, after seeing the video, believes that his officer did what he had to do in order to protect the public, and possibly the life of the man he ran down.

“If we’re going to choose between maybe we’ll let him go a little bit farther and see what happens, or we’re going to take him out now and eliminate any opportunity he has to hurt somebody, you’re going to err on the side of, in favor of the innocent people,” Rozema told CNN. “Without a doubt.”

“This officer made a split-second decision, and in retrospect, when all the dust clears, I think we look at this and say, yeah, there’s things we can learn from this,” Rozema added. “But the entire community is safe, all the officers are safe, and even the suspect in this case is safe.”

Michelle Cohen-Metzger, Valencia’s attorney does not agree with Rozema’s take on the situation and believes that Officer Rapiejko used excessive force in dealing with her client.

“Everything in the video seems to point towards an obvious excessive use of force. It is miraculous that my client isn’t dead,” said Cohen-Metzger, who added that Valencia was “clearly suicidal, clearly in crisis.”

Valencia, who was released from the hospital two days after Rapiejko struck him with his vehicle, faces a total of 15 charges, including three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of armed robbery and possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited possessor. He is currently imprisoned at the Pima County Jail.

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