Protesters were quick to take to the streets after a police officer shot and killed a Pennsylvania man. As calls for “justice” were being made, authorities decided to release the body camera footage.
Twenty-seven-year-old Ricardo Munoz was shot and killed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania while cops were responding to a domestic disturbance around 4:15 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. Almost immediately after the fatal officer-involved shooting, protesters filled the streets of Lancaster, calling for “justice,” prompting the release of the officer’s body camera footage of the incident.
According to police, they received a 911 call during which the caller — Munoz’s sister — said her brother was getting aggressive with his mother and trying to break into her house. Police responded to the home on the 300 block of Laurel Street in downtown Lancaster. The first officer to respond initially made contact with a woman at the home, but it wasn’t long until he came face to face with Munoz.
“The first officer on the scene walked to the front of the residence and made contact with a woman, who was identified as a family member,” the Lancaster City Police Department explained in a release. “A male subject then exited the front door of the residence and began chasing the officer.”
In a matter of seconds, Ricardo Munoz suddenly burst through the front door, charging at the officer with a knife in his right hand, police said. As the officer fled from the knife-wielding man, he fired multiple shots, striking and killing Munoz. That very night, protesters took to the streets, demanding “justice” for the man who was shot dead by police.
“Protesters marched from the scene of the deadly shooting on Laurel and Union streets to the Lancaster Police Department about a mile away, hurling bricks, smashing windows and vandalizing police cars,” the NY Post reported. With the protests quickly taking a destructive and violent turn, the District Attorney and Lancaster City Police Department wasted no time releasing the bodycam footage:
In the police officer’s bodycam footage, Ricardo Munoz is clearly seen brandishing a large knife, charging the officer, and wielding the weapon over the officer’s head. As the cop attempts to flee, he fires, striking Munoz, who died at the scene. Although it seems pretty cut and dry, the district attorney’s office said the shooting was under investigation to determine whether the force used was justified.
“This has been a heartbreaking day for our city. I grieve for the loss of life and know that there are more questions to be answered as the investigation continues,” Lancaster mayor Danene Sorace said in a statement, asking the public to be patient and adding that the officer involved in the shooting had been placed on leave. The DA also tried to quell tensions but to no avail.
“A police-involved shooting has [a] significant impact on a community, as we are seeing with the large number of individuals gathering in the streets,” District Attorney Heather Adams said Sunday night. “We ask that acts of protest remain peaceful as violence and destruction of property will become headlines and serve no purpose for the safety and wellbeing of our citizens and neighborhoods.”
Sadly, this did little to settle the unrest in Lancaster. Instead, bricks were thrown through the front of the police station and post office, protesters damaged a Lancaster County vehicle that was parked in front of the station, and a crowd gathered on an access ramp near the station with police asking them to move and issuing several warnings that “chemical munitions” would be used.
Protesters, who gathered outside the station, threw traffic barricades, large planters, and trash receptacles across the ramp as police asked for “people to avoid the area surrounding the police station.” Eventually, authorities followed through on their threat, deploying pepper spray after the mob refused to move, “physically challenging officers that were moving to clear people from the ramp,” according to police.
“People on the ramp, West Chestnut Street, and the park adjacent to the station threw water bottles, glass bottles, rocks, bricks, gallon jugs of liquids and parts of plastic road barricades at officers,” police said. “OC [pepper] spray was also deployed at protestors that refused to move from the ramp and were physically challenging Officers that were moving to clear people from the ramp.”
“‘A heartbreaking day for our city:’ Police use spray on protesters as Lancaster mayor calls for calm,” PennLive headlined an article about the events following the shooting. What’s truly heartbreaking, however, is the knifeman’s history and the fact it was ignored by those wishing to make a martyr of him.
The year before he was shot and killed by police, Ricardo Munoz stabbed and seriously injured four people, including a teenager. At the time of his death, Munoz was awaiting a criminal trial on four counts of aggravated assault, Daily Mail reported, adding that he also had previous charges of stalking, harassment, and criminal trespassing.
When police arrived at the scene following the stabbing incident, they found Munoz standing outside a home holding a knife to his throat. Officers commanded Munoz to drop the knife, but he refused and then tried to jump over a handrail. Cops used a taser on him to subdue him, and he was taken into custody.
Ricardo Munoz was released following the stabbing, giving him a chance to strike again. This time, however, he was stopped before he was able to claim another victim. Sadly, this matters little to those who wish to project a particular narrative any time police are forced to defend themselves with lethal force. To those, I’d just like to ask what they would have done if they were the one on the other end of Munoz’s blade?