(Phoenix, Arizona) – At a news conference earlier today, County Attorney Rachel Mitchell announced that she will not be filing criminal charges in the shooting death of Anthony Cano on January 2, 2021 by Chandler Police Officer Chase Bebak-Miller. Cano was shot twice by officer Bebak-Miller during a foot pursuit at Gazelle Meadows Park. Cano was hospitalized and died three weeks later from the gunshot wounds sustained that night.
“As County Attorney, I must make difficult decisions. I do not take this responsibility lightly. Parents lost their son and a young man lost his life. But it is my responsibility to determine if criminal charges should be pursued. And that requires a determination of whether charges can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury. As a prosecutor one of the most challenging, yet important, things I must do is set aside my feelings and focus on the facts, evidence, and law. This decision was not easy.”
“I have reviewed this body worn camera sequence from that night many times. I can understand that people may question the reasonableness of the second shot. Officer Bebak-Miller stated he did not realize the gun had been tossed aside before he fired the second shot, and given everything that was happening, it is not unreasonable that the officer did not realize the gun was no longer in Anthony’s hand,” said County Attorney Rachel Mitchell.
The decision by County Attorney Mitchell comes after an extensive review of officer body-worn camera footage, review of the medical examiner’s report, examination of photos, and statements from the officer. Mitchell also referenced the 1989 Supreme Court decision in Graham v. Conor, which provides guidance on whether police use of lethal force is reasonable based on:
- Whether the suspect poses an immediate threat to the safety of the officer or others.
- Whether the suspect is actively resisting arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.
- The severity of the crime at issue.
“On the night of January 2, two of these three thresholds were met,” added Mitchell. “In analyzing cases such as this it is common to review the videos multiple times, playing them in slow motion and frame by frame. But in Graham versus Connor, the United States Supreme Court instructs us that the “reasonableness” of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.”