Prosecutor accuses ex-officer of abusing powers - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Prosecutor accuses ex-officer of abusing powers

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PHOENIX -

Opening statements were heard Wednesday in the trial of a former Phoenix police officer accused of shooting and killing an unarmed man.

Richard Chrisman was fired from the department after the shooting.

Prosecutors say Chrisman abused his authority, but defense attorneys say he only shot in self-defense.

In 2010, Chrisman and Officer Sergio Virgillo were on a domestic violence call involving Daniel Rodriguez.  Both have different versions of what happened.

Rodriguez's mother told officers her son had thrown something against a wall, was high on meth and she wanted him out of the trailer.

Prosecutors say Chrisman pepper sprayed Rodriguez, shot his dog and then shot Rodriguez as he was about to leave.
 
But defense attorneys say Rodriguez was a threat.  They let the jury listen to a 911 call where Rodriguez's mother says she's afraid of her son and fears for her life.

"He was shot even though he didn't have any weapons whatsoever.  He was shot just because individual Richard Chrisman with a badge.. decided to do it.. he decided to step over on the line that particular day just because he had a badge," said prosecutor Juan Martinez.

Attorney Craig Mehrens says the entire incident happened so fast -- in about five minutes.  Mehrens says Virgillo was never in the trailer and didn't see the shooting.  He says Chrisman will eventually take the stand to tell his side of the story.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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