Witness testimony is NOT relevant to the police, only what police say? Why bother investigating crimes if police assumptions are the only thing that counts; thankfully courts see this differently.
A man shot to death Thursday in Tempe by a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy was a convicted sex offender who had a warrant out for his arrest, according to court records.
Joel Edward Smith III, 19, had violated his probation on a reduced charge of failure to register as a sex offender. Superior Court Judge Warren Granville signed a warrant for Smith's arrest on Aug. 7.
Smith was shot and killed Thursday morning by a deputy who was helping Tempe police search for burglary suspects.
The shooting took place on a canal bank that separates Tempe from Guadalupe, a town patrolled by the Sheriff's Office.
Although two Guadalupe residents who witnessed the shooting said Smith appeared to be unarmed and attempting to surrender, a sheriff's official said that the shooting was justified and that Smith threatened the deputy with a knife.
"The facts are that not only did the deputy sheriff have to encounter this individual, but so did two other Tempe officers who witnessed this from a very close distance," said Dave Trombi, a sheriff's deputy chief.
"People's assumptions on what he could have or would have done are irrelevant given that he did pull a knife, he did threaten the Tempe officers and the deputy sheriff, and the deputy sheriff did feel threatened," Trombi said.
The shooting remains under investigation by the Sheriff's Office.
Although the incident started in Tempe, city police deferred because the Sheriff's Office has jurisdiction throughout the county.
The court records show that Smith was indicted in June 2009 on a charge of sexual conduct with a minor, among the most serious of sex crimes, and the victim was a girl younger than 15. The molestation took place in April 2008, when Smith was 15. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge and was placed on lifetime probation, which he violated at least once before, court records show.
He last reported to a probation officer May 4 and failed to report three times, the report said. ..Source.. by Jim Walsh, and JJ Hensley