Video Shows Arizona Officer Ramming into Robbery

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Dramatic dash-cam video shows a police officer in a Tucson suburb using his cruiser to ram an armed suspect, sending him flying in the air before the car smashes into a wall.

The man survived the Feb. 19 crash, and prosecutors cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.

The video released Tuesday and now getting attention across the U.S. comes at a time of heightened tension over the use of force by police across the country.

The man who was hit, Mario Valencia, 36, faces several felony charges, including assault on a police officer. His attorney, Michelle Cohen-Metzger, has not responded to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

Marana police Sgt. Chris Warren said Valencia robbed a convenience store in Tucson, broke into a church, invaded a home and stole a car. Valencia drove the stolen car to Marana, just north of Tucson, where he stole a rifle from a Wal-Mart.

Video from two different police cruisers shows Valencia walking down a busy business corridor with a rifle in his hands. At one point, Valencia points the rifle at himself and threatens to kill himself.

One of the dash cam videos shows an officer slowly driving behind Valencia as he shoots the rifle in the air. That officer tells others to stay back because the suspect is armed.

But within seconds, a different officer drives his patrol car at high speed and rams into Valencia, sending him flying into the air. Officers with guns drawn quickly swarm the scene.

The officer has been identified as Michael Rapiejko. Warren said Rapiejko was put on a standard administrative leave because the incident was considered use of force. The Pima County Attorney’s Office cleared Rapiejko of any wrongdoing and he is back on the force, Warren said.

Video shows Arizona cop using car to ram armed suspect (FULL VIDEO)

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The Marana Police Department in Arizona has released dash cam video showing a cruiser ramming an armed suspect on February 19.

The suspect, Mario Valencia, was armed with a stolen rifle and had fired a shot in the air.

Dash cam video records a gunshot as the suspect is walking. He warns police: “Stand off, stand off, the gun is loaded.”

A second squad car driven by Michael Rapiejko then rams Valencia, sending him flipping into the air.

Valencia survived the impact and faces charges for sticking up a 7-Eleven, setting fire to a church, auto theft and breaking and entering.

Valencia allegedly stole the rifle and a box of .30-30 ammunition from WalMart, police said.

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Police dash cam shows Arizona cop cruiser ramming armed suspect Mario Valencia

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A recently released video from a police car dashcam shows the moment where an Arizona police officer rams his cruiser into armed suspect Mario Valencia.

Valencia fled a Walmart in Marana, where he had allegedly stolen a rifle on February 19. Marana police later intercepted Valencia in front of a post office near the Walmart. Instead of surrendering, Valencia pointed the rifle at his head and threatened to commit suicide. He then fired the rifle in another direction and fled.

Marana police pursued Valencia toward Continental Ranch Self Storage, where an officer then hit Valencia with his police cruiser. Valencia was taken to the University of Arizona Medical Center in serious condition and was hospitalized for two days.

According to CBS5, Valencia may be responsible for several crimes in the Tucson area including robbing a 7/11, a break-in and fire at a church and a home invasion.


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