A Philadelphia police officer who was fired for fatally shooting a 12-year-old unarmed boy within the again has been charged with homicide.
A grand jury charged Edsaul Mendoza with first-degree homicide, third-degree homicide, voluntary manslaughter and possessing an instrument of crime within the March 1 killing of Thomas “TJ” Siderio, Philadelphia District Legal professional Larry Krasner stated at a information convention Monday.
Mendoza surrendered on Sunday night time, in line with court docket data, and was jailed with out bail.
4 plainclothes officers, together with Mendoza, have been in an unmarked automotive in South Philadelphia after they pulled as much as TJ and a 17-year-old. The district legal professional’s workplace stated the 4 officers gave inconsistent explanations for the cease, although Krasner stated one purpose given was as a result of the youths have been using their bicycles the mistaken means.
TJ “probably” fired a shot on the police automotive about the identical time officers activated the police lights, the district legal professional stated. Mendoza bought out of the automotive and started a “tactically unsound” foot chase for TJ, firing a complete of three photographs, Krasner stated. The third bullet hit TJ within the again and exited by means of his chest.
Krasner stated the capturing was captured on video seen by grand jurors that exhibits Mendoza firing the final shot after the boy was “successfully face-down” after both diving or falling to the bottom. Mendoza was “half a automotive size away” — just some toes — when he fired the deadly shot, the DA stated.
“I discover this very disturbing and really troublesome to observe,” Krasner stated of the video, which nonetheless hasn’t been launched to the general public.
A gun the prosecutor stated TJ used to fireside on the police automotive was discovered about 40 toes from his physique, which implies he was unarmed when Mendoza shot him. TJ disposed of the firearm earlier than Mendoza fired the final two photographs, in line with the district legal professional.
Mendoza appeared to know that TJ was unarmed earlier than he shot the boy, Krasner stated. The video exhibits the officer operating towards TJ with out concern of being shot, Krasner stated, and likewise exhibits Mendoza indicating to a fellow officer the place the boy tossed the weapon.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw fired Mendoza a few week after the killing, saying his conduct violated division coverage.
The division has refused to substantiate the identities of the opposite officers concerned, citing credible threats to them. Krasner stated he has no details about such threats.