Richard Lee Richards, 61, was accused of stealing an item from Walmart in November 2021, and instead of due process and having his day in court, he was executed on the spot. An investigation began after video footage was released showing an officer dumping 9 rounds into the man as he scooted by him—in his wheelchair.
Nine months later, officer Ryan Remington, the clearly trigger-happy officer, was charged after he decided to open fire on the disabled elderly man because he didn’t immediately stop when told to do so.
On Tuesday, however, Remington escaped accountability with a judge who was clearly sympathetic to the thin blue line. A Superior Court judge in Pima County dismissed the manslaughter charge without prejudice, meaning it can be re-filed, but will likely not be.
At the time, Richards’ execution was captured on store surveillance footage and police body camera footage and it is disturbing, to say the least. The idea that it took nine months to charge Remington speaks to the nature of the thin blue line protecting their own — even their own who execute elderly men in wheelchairs. The judge’s dismissal says it even more.
According to police, Richards, who was a paraplegic, was accused of stealing a toolbox from Walmart. When officers confronted him in the parking lot, he refused to stop and continued on, attempting to enter a nearby Lowe’s Home Improvement store.
As Richards rolled his wheelchair through the entrance to Lowe’s, Remington bypassed his taser, baton, pepper spray, and all other less-than-lethal means, and immediately drew his firearm.
“Do not go into the store, sir,” Remington is heard saying on the body camera footage. But Richards did not listen, continuing to roll away from him in his wheelchair.
Though it is not visible in any of the videos, police claimed Richards was in possession of a knife which is why Remington resorted to deadly force. Instead of simply grabbing the wheelchair and tasering the man, the cowardly officer decided to execute Richards. The shooting was so egregious that even the Tucson Police Chief at the time, Chris Magnus said he was “deeply disturbed and troubled” by it.
“His use of deadly force in this incident is a clear violation of department policy and directly contradicts multiple aspects of our use of force and training,” then-Chief Magnus said.
The shooting unfolded on November 29, 2021, and Remington was fired shortly after—but not charged.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero decried Remington’s actions, calling them “unconscionable and indefensible.”
“The county attorney has my full support as they proceed with their investigation,” she said in a statement at the time. “It is moments like this that test our resolve to ensure justice and accountability.”
Naturally, Remington’s police union-appointed attorney disagreed with the chief and the mayor and instead of condemning his client’s actions of executing a man in a wheelchair, attorney Mike Storie praised his response. Storie then went on to tell reporters that the chief and mayor’s comments were a “politically motivated rush to judgment.”
After admitting at the time that he hadn’t seen the full video, Storie went on to justify Remington’s actions, claiming that the officer “attempted to de-escalate the situation” until Richards’s actions—in a wheelchair—gave him “no choice but to use deadly force.”
When watching the video below, Storie’s statement becomes outright laughable. Nevertheless, he is standing by Remington and claims that the video supported his stance.
Storie went on to further justify the nine shots fired into the back of a man rolling by in a wheelchair by claiming they were in accordance with police training.
“Officers are trained that if they perceive a serious and imminent deadly threat,” Storie said. “They are to fire multiple times until they perceive the threat is removed.”
Sadly, the judge agreed.
As you watch the video below, try to imagine what kind of person views a man in a wheelchair, holding a knife, as a serious enough threat that they would open fire on him from behind, executing him.
This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.