PHOENIX — The Arizona chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s volunteer networks, today released the following statement after reports that James Porter Garcia, a 28-year-old Latino man, was fatally shot by police over the weekend while sitting inside his parked car. The shooting, captured in a now-viral video, renewed protests across Phoenix as demonstrators continue to protest police violence across the country, and it serves as yet another example of the disproportionate impact that gun violence has on communities of color in the United States.
“My heart breaks knowing that another young person is now dead at the hands of police violence,” said Marie Thearle, a volunteer leader with the Arizona chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our thoughts are with James Porter Garcia’s family, and we add our voice to their request that the entirety of the body camera footage be released. It’s unconscionable that police violence robs individuals of their right to a fair trial and tears apart Black and brown families across this country at disproportionately high levels.”
As a whole, gun violence takes a disproportionate toll on Black and brown communities in the United States. Black Americans represent the majority of homicide and nonfatal shooting victims in the U.S., and are far more likely than white Americans to be victimized by and exposed to assaultive gun violence.
Black and brown Americans are also far more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts. Data from The Guardian shows that most people killed by police are killed with guns, and according to CNN, this is the 28th officer-involved shooting in Maricopa County this year. Further, according to data from Mapping Police Violence, Black Americans are nearly 3 times more likely than their white peers to be shot and killed by police. From 2013 to 2019, 31 Black Americans and 114 Hispanic Americans were killed by police in Arizona. On average, 95 percent of police killings involve a gun.
Research finds that meaningful use of force policies reduce police shootings. By encouraging de-escalation, utilizing early intervention systems, and ensuring that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable, use of force policies can ensure that laws help advance safety and promote trust in the police.
In Arizona, Black people are six times as likely as white people to die by gun homicide. Arizona also has the 7th highest gun homicide rate among Hispanic residents in the country. More Information about gun violence in Arizona is available here.