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DIGGING DEEPER: TPD officer gets job back after initially fired for using deadly force

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TUCSON (KVOA) - A Tucson police officer who was fired for using deadly force learned his fate Wednesday.

The News 4 Tucson's Digging Deeper Team first told you about Alfred Anaya on Monday.

He was terminated in August because Tucson Police Department said he did not follow policy and was not justified when he fired his weapon in 2019.

Anaya took his case before the Civil Service Commission.

It was unanimous the Civil Service Commission voted to reinstate Alfred Anaya as a Tucson police officer.

"Officer Anaya's actions were fully justified based on the totality of the circumstances and he acted in a reasonable manner he was presented," Tom Palomares, who heads the commission, said.

Palomares also mentioned last week's testimony of Lt. Justin Lane.

Lane was asked to review the Office of Professional Standards investigation and the action the commanders took to terminate Anaya.

Lane disagreed with their findings and explained to the commissioners why.

Palomares read in part what Lane wrote.

"I do not believe officer Anaya's actions or conduct were severe enough to cause the city to now mistrust him. To the contrary my personal opinion, I believe the actions of officer Anaya likely prevented further harm to other officers and the public at large."

Palomares further mentioned what they read the report was that the Vincent Linarez the man Anaya shot, told officers, "he was planning on killing if he had had a gun, he would've shot the officers."

Anaya was emotional, "I just want to thank God."

He's also thankful to commission members," I'm grateful to the board that thy saw the facts for what they were."

He added he was also grateful to his wife and family.

"I want to say thank-you to everyone. I still love this department and it never wavered," he said. "I want to be a cop, very proud to be a cop. I want to continue that."

Officer Anaya is scheduled to report for duty next week and will get full back pay.

TPD Chief Chris Magnus released a statement about the decision. It is listed below.

"I am disappointed by the decision of the Civil Service Commission to reinstate the officer.

In carrying out my responsibilities as police chief, I terminated the officer for acts that violated the department’s use of force policy—a policy that has been recognized nationally for incorporating best practices and accountability.

Tucson Police Officers are held to a very high standard when it comes to use of force. They must continuously reassess to ensure that their use of force is proportionate to the circumstances, including when a suspect is attempting to flee.

The vast majority of TPD officers follow our use of force policy. When force is used appropriately, including deadly force, we have and will continue to stand behind our officers. When it is not, I address it through discipline, as I did in this instance.

I believe the Commission’s decision today undermines my responsibilities and decisions as police chief to hold officers accountable for policy compliance. While the Commission has reinstated this officer, he will not be returning to patrol."

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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