TUCSON, Ariz. — A former Tucson police officer has been indicted on a manslaughter charge after he was accused of shooting and killing a 61-year-old man in a motorized wheelchair last November.
Pima County Attorney Laura Conover made the announcement in a press conference Thursday afternoon, a day after a grand jury determined the charge against former officer Ryan Remington.
Conover said Remington was served a summons to court Thursday morning and will have an arraignment next week.
“There is no joy in this announcement today. No joy,” Conover said. “I cannot turn back the hands of time. Not for Mr. Richards, not for his sister, and not for Mr. Remington and his colleagues. But we have an absolute obligation to seek justice for the people of Pima County. Rest assured that when challenging events occur that require our consideration, we will go quietly and steadily about our work, and we will do what we believe is right.”
On November 29, 2021, Richard Lee Richards was allegedly caught stealing a toolbox at a Walmart in the Midvale Park Shopping Center in southwest Tucson.
Remington was off duty working as a security guard at the store. When he confronted Richards, police said he pulled out a knife while he fled the store.
Security cameras caught the former officer following Richards across the parking lot. Remington walked behind Richards, who was in a motorized scooter.
As Richards began to enter the Garden Center of a nearby Lowe’s, Remington shot him nine times in the back and side. The gunfire impact caused the 61-year-old to fall from his scooter. Remington rendered aid, but Richards died on the scene.
Remington was terminated from the department less than a day after the shooting by then-Tucson police Chief Chris Magnus.
“I am deeply troubled by Officer Remington’s actions,” Magnus said a day after the incident. “His use of deadly force in this incident is a clear violation of department policy and directly contradicts multiple aspects of our use of force training.”
Remington was with the department since January 2017 before being terminated.
Manslaughter charge may lead to a civil lawsuit
Conover said her office conducted a months-long independent investigation into the shooting. They also consulted with former prosecutors, Rick Romley and Donald Conrad, from other counties about the case.
“Between the two of them, we added decades of prosecutorial experience,” Conover said during Thursday’s press conference. “We added independence, and we added direct relevant experience from several officer-involved trials in recent years in the Phoenix area.”
Conover said bringing them on board was critical because the last jury trial of an officer accused of an unlawful shooting in Pima County stemmed from events dating back to 1989.
A Pima County spokesperson told 12News that Remington will be arraigned either on August 31 or September 1, as the former officer’s attorneys finalize a date.
Attorneys for Richard's family said they will now file a lawsuit against the former officer.
“Now that Mr. Remington has been indicted… Mr. Richard's family will proceed with a civil rights lawsuit against Mr. Remington in the next few weeks,” said Attorney John Bradley in a statement.
“A civil lawsuit is an important part of seeking justice for Mr. Richards and his family, too,” he added.
Current Tucson police Chief Chad Kasmas also issued the following statement:
“This tragedy greatly impacted the Tucson community and this department. Today, we received notice that Ryan Remington has been indicted by a grand jury and faces criminal charges. This is now a matter for the courts to adjudicate.”
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