Dustin Deckard was driving home on Saturday afternoon when he saw a Wichita police officer aiming her rifle at an unarmed man.
“It was clearly a younger man in his early 20s of Hispanic descent, and he was wearing a blue jersey and he had his hands up,” said Deckard of the Kansas cops.
“He was behind the SUV, and the female officer was mostly directly in front of him, a little bit to his left. Both the officers were on either side of him, but he was facing the female officer who had her rifle up, and she was looking down the sight.”
Moments later, the officer shot the young man, named John Paul Quintero, twice in the midsection.
Hours later, he was dead.
“It was very eerie, because the shooting must have occurred seconds after,” Deckard said. “When I passed, I slowed down, so I only got a couple seconds of a view.”
The Wichita Police Department has not released the name of the officer who shot John Paul Quintero. She and another officer have been placed on administrative leave.
The officers were called to the scene after Quintero allegedly held a knife to a woman’s throat at a house nearby, but the police have not located any weapon that may have been used by Quintero. Here are the rest of the details according to Interim Chief Nelson Mosley, as reported by the Wichita Eagle.
At 6:43 p.m. Saturday, 911 operators received a call of a disturbance involving a knife at the address on North Oliver, Mosley said.
Two officers arrived in the area at 6:51 p.m., parking down the street and walking to the residence. With officers on the way, dispatchers received at least three more calls stating the suspect was under the influence of alcohol and armed with a knife, Mosley said. At the scene, two officers approached an SUV parked in the driveway of the house. Officers approached Quintero, who was on the passenger side of the SUV, and his 44-year-old father, who was on the driver’s side. Quintero’s father got out of the vehicle and was compliant, Mosley said. “However, the 23-year-old was belligerent and confrontational toward the officers and refused commands from Officer B,” Mosley said.
“The suspect approached Officer B, and Officer B backed away from the suspect due to him not complying with verbal commands. The suspect walked toward the back of the SUV, at which time Officer A hears the verbal confrontation and moves to a position to assist Officer B at the rear of the SUV.”Officer A started giving commands to Quintero to show his hands, and police say that’s when he verbally threatened the officers.
At that point, Officer A gave additional commands for Quintero put his hands on the SUV, and then used a Taser on Quintero after he did not comply, Mosley said.
But there was no effect from the Taser, and Quintero stepped toward Officer A, Mosley said. Around that time, officers asked for more backup. Officer B saw Quintero reach toward his waistband, and she then fired two shots from her patrol rifle, hitting Quintero twice in the middle of his body, Mosley said.
Mosley could not provide details about the verbal altercation between Quintero and the officers.
Let’s start with what we know.
Whether the officers in this case are telling the truth, or whether this story is the next chapter in the recent wave of unwarranted police killings, the Wichita Eagle’s reporting in this case is irresponsible. Even the headline in this local newspaper of record is literally written from the police perspective, as the Eagle’s headline reads, “Wichita police: Man shot, killed by officer was ‘belligerent,’ reaching for his waistband.” From the Eagle’s perspective, the story is not what happened, but what the police say happened.
To take the story of the shooting of an unarmed man where the only witness on record – besides the police – claims the victim had his hands up, and lead with a headline paraphrasing the police testimony is biased to the point where it was written as if the police were the Eagle’s client in a murder trial. The Wichita Eagle is not a defense attorney representing the Wichita police, and should not report on this story as if the police report is the story. A man was shot to death, and that is the headline.
Buried in the Eagle’s article beneath what seems like a side story on the Wichita Police Department acquiring body cams for police – more than 30 paragraphs into the story – is the testimony of Dustin Deckard.
The Eagle, in fact, introduce another man who only heard the shots in the seventh paragraph.
But Deckard actually saw the incident moments before the shots.
Deckard, who was driving home from work, has no motive to lie. Deckard’s words were, “He had his hands up.”
Let’s start the story and the investigation right there, and ask why a man the police found with no weapon would reach for his waistband. Because the reaching for the waistband story has been played-out way too many times already.
To support transparent journalism, support PINAC and other outlets with your time or your money. Help us get to the next level, by donating or telling activists in your area that journalism is alive and well.