Arizona officer kills teen boy armed with replica gun

A Colt 1911A1 air soft gun similar to what a 14-year-old boy was in possession when he was shot by police in Arizona on Jan 17, 2019. (Shutterstock photo)
Updated 18 January 2019
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Arizona officer kills teen boy armed with replica gun

  • Police said that the teen had a replica 1911 airsoft gun in his possession,
  • The shooting was reportedly captured on the officer’s body camera

PHOENIX, USA: Police in a Phoenix suburb say a burglary suspect shot to death by an officer was a 14-year-old boy carrying a replica gun.
Authorities say officers in the city of Tempe reported a suspect burglarizing a car Tuesday and that he ran away holding what appeared to be a handgun.
During the chase, police say he turned toward the officers. One officer perceived that as a threat and shot the suspect, who died at a hospital.
Police said Wednesday that the teen had a replica 1911 airsoft gun in his possession, which they determined he had taken from vehicle along with some other items.
They say the shooting was captured on the officer’s body camera. The police department did not immediately respond to a request by The Associated Press for access to the video.
The name of the teen and the officer who opened fire haven’t been released.
But the ABC15 Arizona station interviewed a man and a woman identified as the boy’s brother and mother, who said they wanted police to explain what happened.
The boy’s brother Jason Gonzalez said, “A police officer has a Taser gun right? Why not shoot a Taser at him? He sees a young boy, my brother wouldn’t shoot. I know he wouldn’t shoot.”
Speaking through a Spanish-English interpreter, the teen’s mother Sandra Gonzalez said: “If they want to tarnish my son, they are wrong.”
“Apart from the fact that they killed him, they want to destroy him,” she said. “No. I won’t allow it, I want justice.”
A Facebook page believed to be the teen’s shows photographs of a baby-faced boy with a peach-fuzz mustache, a few snaps with relatives and friends and a big, green truck. Friends of the family were putting together a GoFundMe page to pay for the teen’s funeral costs.
The department said it will conduct its investigation in conjunction with the Maricopa County Attorney’s office, as is customary in officer-involved shootings.
A self-described socialist group rallied Wednesday night in Tempe to draw attention to the case.
“We want to bring an end to the police brutality in Maricopa County and lock up killer cops,” said activist Alexia Isais. “We are demanding that police be held accountable for the killings they are committing, mostly against unarmed, marginalized people.”
Since the beginning of the year, there has been at least one other police shooting that killed a teen in Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest.
Earlier this month, a Phoenix police officer shot and killed a 19-year-old Jacob Michael Harris after surveillance officers reportedly saw him and three others carry out an armed robbery. Police say they were watching the group because they were suspects in several other robberies.
Also this month, an officer in the Phoenix suburb of Peoria shot and wounded a 17-year-old boy after getting a call about a robbery at an auto supply store. Officers said the boy had a gun. He was shot in the shoulder.


UN gives Myanmar aid cut warning over Rohingya camp closures

Updated 18 June 2019
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UN gives Myanmar aid cut warning over Rohingya camp closures

  • Myanmar has closed several camps holding around 9,000 Rohingya
  • They have not been allowed to return to their former homes and remain dependent on handouts

YANGON: The UN has warned it will pare back aid to thousands of Rohingya Muslims left destitute as Myanmar’s government closes camps in Rakhine state, over fears its continued support “risks entrenching segregation.”
Aid agencies are facing an increasingly sharp dilemma in the region as they balance relief for desperate communities with leverage over the government.
The majority of Myanmar’s Rohingya were driven into Bangladesh by a 2017 army crackdown, but around 400,000 remain inside conflict-battered Rakhine.
Those include nearly 130,000 held since 2012 in squalid camps, currently supported by UN agencies and humanitarian groups.
As part of its strategy to address the crisis, Myanmar has closed several camps holding around 9,000 Rohingya.
But they have not been allowed to return to their former homes and remain dependent on handouts. Instead, they are being settled in new accommodation close to the former camps.
That has sparked fears aid agencies are effectively being used to prop-up a policy that fails to address the fundamental needs of the Rohingya, including housing, work, food and security.
The camp closure plan “risks entrenching segregation,” UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar Knut Ostby wrote to the government in a leaked letter, dated 6 June and seen by AFP.
The letter, also written on behalf of aid groups, warned support “beyond life-saving assistance” at the closed sites would in future be linked to “tangible” progress made on “the fundamental issue of freedom of movement.”
“Life-saving” support includes food, health and water, but site planning, shelter construction and education facilities could be phased out, aid agency sources told AFP.
The UN has faced criticism for a slow response to violence against the Rohingya, which escalated after 2012 riots between Muslim Rohingyas and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.
A UN report released Monday admitted “systemic failures” in its handling of the build-up to the Rohingya crisis.
Limited access to Rakhine’s camps makes independent reporting on conditions difficult.
But AFP has reviewed recent interviews conducted in five camps by an NGO requesting anonymity to protect its work.
“If I build a house, it can be seized arbitrarily,” one Rohingya man said.
“I have no right to the land and I can also be arrested at any time.”
An aid worker called the remaining 23 sites in Rakhine little more than “concentration camps.”
On condition of anonymity, she spoke of the “complicity” humanitarian staff feel for perpetuating the segregation.
Amnesty International has described Rakhine as an “apartheid state.”
All aid must be “heavily conditioned,” researcher Laura Haigh said, warning donors that building infrastructure could make them complicit in crimes against humanity.
The government defended the camp closures, telling AFP it would continue working with the UN and NGOs on the issue.
Any former camp resident holding a National Verification Card (NVC) will be able to “move freely within their township” and access “education, health facilities and livelihood activities,” the social welfare ministry said.
Most Rohingya refuse to apply for the card believing they should already be treated as full citizens.
Those interviewed said the few to have caved had no more rights than anyone else.
They were also forced to designate themselves as “Bengali,” a term implying they are from Bangladesh.
“They are just trying to dominate us and make us illegal through different ways,” one Rohingya man said.