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Police Officer Charged With Murder Of 12-Year-Old Boy

Police Officer Charged With Murder Of 12-Year-Old Boy

The officer engaged in a 'tactically unsound' chase and allegedly shot him three times

A Philadelphia police officer has been charged with the murder of a 12-year-old boy.

Thomas 'TJ' Siderio died on the night of 1 March. It came after an unmarked patrol car pulled up next to him and another 17-year-old, identified only as 'NK'.

It's believed TJ 'likely' shot at the vehicle, with the bullet entering the rear window and sparking a pursuit.

Edsaul Mendoza, 26, was one of four plainclothes officers inside the car at the time of the incident. While the others ducked for cover after the shot, he chased TJ on foot, which was 'tactically unsound', according to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

The officer shot at TJ three times, including twice after TJ had already discarded the gun, CNN reports.

The fatal shot came from a half-car length away as the child was lying face down on the ground and unarmed, Krasner said, and Mendoza directed one of the other officers to the spot where TJ had thrown his gun.

Thomas 'TJ' Siderio died in March.
6abc Philadelphia

Krasner said: "Thus when Officer Mendoza fired the third and fatal shot, he knew the 12-year-old, 5ft tall, 111lb Thomas Siderio no longer had a gun and no ability to harm him.

"It is certain that [Siderio] had stopped running and he was possibly surrendering… and he was essentially face down on the sidewalk."

The 17-year-old wasn't harmed in the incident, and was questioned and released pending further investigation.

On Monday, 2 May, Krasner announced first and third-degree murder charges against Mendoza. He's also been charged with voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument of crime with intent to use it criminally, according to a grand jury presentment.

Edsaul Mendoza has been charged with murder.
Philadelphia Police

The charges came after the grand jury viewed surveillance footage of the incident, which hasn't yet been released to the public. Krasner described it as 'very, very disturbing and very difficult to watch'.

Police Commissioner Danielle M. Outlaw earlier fired Mendoza for violating the department's use of force directive.

She said: "Based off of the evidence that I reviewed, it was clear that the use of force policy was violated.

"I will tell you that all use of force has to be proportionate to the resistance they're trying to overcome. I will also tell you that our policy clearly states that excessive force will not be tolerated."

Mendoza will be represented by the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, with a preliminary hearing set for 16 May.

Philadelphia FOP Lodge #5 President John McNesby said: "The accused officer, like every other citizen, is entitled to due process and we are confident that our judicial system will protect this officer's constitutional right to a fair trial."

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Featured Image Credit: Credit: Philadelphia Police

Topics: US News