ARLINGTON, Texas — A Texas police officer who was involved in a fatal shooting on Wednesday was fired Friday morning, the department says.
Arlington Police Chief Al Jones announced that Officer Robert Phillips, a 7-year police veteran, was terminated for violating department policy, NBCDFW reported.
The shooting took place Wednesday afternoon following a slow-speed chase that ended up coming to an end in a cul-de-sac. Body camera and dashboard camera video released by the department Friday showed the chase turn onto Carla Court where the suspect attempted to turn around.
Jesse Joseph Fischer, 40, was fatally shot after he drove his vehicle toward police, according to initial department reports.
Jesse Joseph Fischer, 40, was fatally shot by Arlington police on Oct. 20, 2021, after officers say he drove a car toward them. (Image via NBCDFW)
In the video, Phillips stopped his police unit in the center of the street, stepped out from behind the door, and drew his weapon while demanding the driver stop.
When the driver continued to slowly move forward, the department said Phillips fired several rounds, which resulted in the suspect’s death.
Jones said Phillips had alternatives and that he put himself in a position where he felt like he had to use deadly force, according to NBCDFW.
“We could have blocked the street so he couldn’t get by. We could have been out there with him for numbers of hours until he actually turned himself in. So there were a lot of different options, but we didn’t do that, and that, I think, is a failure on our part,” Jones said.
“The facts as we know them today are not going to change. They’re not going to change today, they’re not going to change tomorrow and they’re not going to change six months from now,” Jones said. “As a result of the administrative review, I have decided to terminate his employment.”
Arlington police released body and dashcam video Friday showing a fatal shooting involving a police officer. (Images via NBCDFW)
Jones said that it was important to take quick action, not only for the community, but for Fischer’s family as well.
“I knew I was going to release this video. Without any type of action with it, the community would have been outraged. And that’s the last thing I want in Arlington,” Jones said.
The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) and the Arlington Police Association said Friday afternoon the officer should be reinstated.
“I call on the department to reverse this hasty decision today and immediately reinstate this officer,” said Officer J.P. Mason, president of the Arlington Police Association.
Jones insisted the department did not rush to judgment.
“We didn’t rush to judgment,” Jones said. “I didn’t take this decision lightly. It was very tough for me. It was very tough for the agency.”