The Arizona police officer who fatally shot 14-year old Antonio Arce in the back on January 15 as he ran away while holding a toy gun resigned on Monday.
Arce died after being struck twice in the back from a distance as ran away from Tempe police officer Joseph Jaen.
Body camera footage of the shooting, shown above, shows moments right before and after the shots ring out.
The Tempe Police Department made an announcement Monday stating publicly that officer Jaen was resigning from the department, but neither Jean nor the department stated directly the reason why Jaen resigned.
Tempe Police Chief Silvia Moir accepted Jean’s resignation after meeting with him about the issue, but she also did not reveal Jaen’s reason for resigning from the department.
If history is any indication, Jaen probably resigned to avoid being terminated, which would permit him to be hired by another department if he manages to avoid incarceration for killing Arce in mid-January.
Retired Police Sergeant Kevin Boontjer said he thinks there are two possible reasons why Jaen choose to resign in the midst of two investigations, including an investigation into criminal charges.
“The worst case could be it’s a resignation in lieu of being potentially terminated,” Boontjer told CBS 5 on May 20.
“On the other side it could be a resignation by an officer that has basically just been traumatized by a terrible incident that he was involved in.”
“It’s unusual. It’s not the norm. But they obviously had some reason for doing that that we’re not privy to,” Boontjer added.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office says its administration investigation is “not yet complete” and the department has not yet decided if Jaen’s actions in the shooting of Antonio Arce were justified.
Tempe police say Jaen’s resignation “is independent from the criminal review and administration investigation.”
Danny Ortega, the attorney representing Arce’s remaining family members, said there being no direct reason given for Jaen’s retirement leads him to speculate.
“It leads to a lot of speculation, nobody really knows at this point why it is he resigned,,” Ortega said.
“All we know is the video is very clear, this was an unjustified shooting of a young man.”
Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell gave ABC15 a statement saying he will refrain from passing judgment on officer Jaen until the administrative investigation by the department and investigation into criminal charges have by the county attorney have concluded.
I have been informed today of the resignation of Officer Jaen. The City Council and I continue to refrain from passing judgment on the Jan. 15 officer-involved shooting of Antonio Arce while we await the conclusion of the Tempe Police administrative investigation as well as the Maricopa County Attorney’s decision on criminal charges. As I have expressed, inserting any political influence at this stage would be wrong. I continue to hold the Arce family and Officer Jaen and his family in my thoughts.
Jason Gonzalez Arce, Antonio’s brother, said Jaen’s resignation left him speechless.
“His resignation has left me speechless. He knows he messed up, that’s why he’s choosing to resign. Justice shall be served!”
The Maricopa County Attorney says the investigation into possible criminal charges is ongoing.