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'We miss him terribly': Family continues fight after Chandler reaches $1 million settlement for teen shot by police

Anthony Cano, 17, was shot twice from behind by police in January. The second shot came while the teenager was face down on the ground.

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Six months after 17-year-old Anthony Cano was shot and killed by a Chandler police officer, the city reached and approved a $1,125,000 settlement with the family.

“The intention was not to get a monetary settlement for justice, the intention was to open eyes,” said Eva Cano, the victim’s aunt who has been outspoken about the changes the family wants to see in the Chandler Police Department after the shooting.

The shooting caught on body camera 

Anthony Cano was allegedly riding his bike without a headlight when he encountered Officer Chase Bebak-Miller near Nevada and Erie streets around 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 2.

Chandler police said that Bebak-Miller attempted a traffic stop because Cano was allegedly riding between two lanes of the road. When the stop was initiated, Cano got off the bike and ran toward Gazelle Meadows Park.

Bebak-Miller exited his vehicle and ran after Cano before shooting him in the back twice at close range, the second shot fired while Cano was face-down on the ground.

Police body camera video worn by the officer in question showed Cano tossing a gun away from himself during the foot pursuit. Cano appears to drop something and pick it up, then toss it.

Bebak-Miller can be heard on body camera footage saying he saw Cano drop a gun on the ground before he shot Cano.

Body camera footage never shows Cano turn and aim the gun at Bebak-Miller. The gun Cano dropped ended several yards away from Cano’s body.

Bebak-Miller still works for the Chandler Police Department on a modified assignment. His case is under review internally and by the Maricopa County Attorney’s office.

Six months after the shooting, the fight continues

Since the shooting, the family has rallied, held community marches, and attended city council meetings in their plea to see police reform.

Anthony Cano was a smart kid, he skipped the seventh grade and attended bible study on Wednesdays, according to his grandmother, Silvia Morales.

“We miss him terribly,” Morales said as her eyes filled with tears. “Who knows if I’ll ever get past it.”

Wearing a heart-shaped necklace with Cano’s ashes inside of it, Eva Cano said the family just came back from a family vacation, a hard one to take with her nephew’s absence.

They say six months after Anthony Cano’s death, they still can’t fully comprehend why it happened and have several unanswered questions. But that said, it’s not stopping them from maintaining hope justice will come.

“I can protest every night out there, I can go every week, every day, it’s not going to change unless police departments, states and federal level change processes when it comes to holding police accountable,” Eva Cano said.

The settlement announcement came as former officer Derek Chauvin’s sentencing in the murder of George Floyd on Friday starting a flare of hope for this family, still calling for police reform.

“Floyd pleaded, as my grandson did the same thing, but the officer had no regard,” Morales said. “[The officer] deserves to be out of the job he, we believe, has shown is not fit for.”

The settlement

Anthony Cano’s family said the settlement with the City of Chandler was reached in early June. It was unanimously approved by the City Council on Thursday night.

The $1,125,000 will be split between Cano’s parents. The father will receive $125,000 and the remaining will be given to the mother.

As a condition of the settlement, the City of Chandler admitted no fault. The city did not respond to 12 News' requests for comment.

Attorney Greg Kuykendall, who represented Cano’s mother, made the following statement:

“Anthony Cano should be alive today. He and his beloved family should be laughing at Anthony’s antics, loving one another, and planning for their joint futures. But instead, Anthony is dead after he was relentlessly chased down for having ridden his bicycle without a headlight, then shot in the back while he was throwing away a gun, then shot again in the back as he lay helpless on the ground. 

His mother is now absolutely distraught. His siblings are beyond anguished. His many friends are lost, alone and angry. This horrific outcome is all because of a culture encouraged by the Chandler Police Department that celebrates violence and rewards lawlessness. That culture can be changed — and it must change — or there will be more killings of children and innocents like Anthony Cano. 

However, police departments cannot ever be expected to change, unless and until forced to do so. The Chandler taxpayers and the Chandler City government can make that happen, and they should.”

“I think we still have lots of hill climbing to do before we can begin to rest,” Eva Cano said.

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