MESA, Ariz. - Angel Benitez was a suspect in a stolen car investigation and ultimately, several Mesa Police officers surrounded him, open fired and killed him on Sept. 25 of 2020.
His family has maintained the shooting was unjustified and is now seeking a $15 million settlement from the city of Mesa.
The family filed a notice of claim against the city, alleging Mesa Police officers are liable for his death.
Benjamin Taylor is the attorney for the family and says, "Excessive force, unjustified shooting, failure to render aid and medical attention. He’s unarmed. He was no threat."
FOX 10 spoke with two witnesses at the scene who claimed they saw Benitez with his hands up at the time. Bodyworn camera video does not clearly show the shooting.
His mother, Ana Sandoval, said back in September 2020, "Their job is to protect and serve. This is not serving. You guys murdered my son."
Taylor says one of the officers used a personal gun in the shooting. "One of the officers used his own personal weapon. Other officers shot Angel and we understand there were 28 shots fired."
According to the claim, Officer William Roer fired nine rounds from his personal weapon and although Roer had medical training, he failed to render aid to Benitez at the scene. Officer Roer was also involved in a separate 2018 incident in which Mesa officers were reportedly caught on bodycam video mocking a suspect as he laid bleeding on the floor.
"Mesa has a culture over many years of killing, harming and hurting unarmed citizens," Taylor said, adding, "They want justice. They want these officers fired. They want these officers prosecuted by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office."
The city of Mesa has 60 days to respond to the notice of claim.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is still reviewing the shooting investigation and has not made a determination yet on the justification of the shooting.