A Graham County Sheriff’s deputy on patrol on Sunday afternoon saw a man he knew had a felony warrant for his arrest in the passenger seat of a white Chevy S-10. The deputy made contact with the man, identified as Jose Mendoza-Garcia. The deputy asked the man if his last name was Mendoza-Garcia and he said, “yes.” The officer told him that he needed to speak with him but as the deputy approached, Mendoza-Garcia turned and began running. The deputy chased him on foot, yelling commands to stop. The deputy advised dispatch that he was pursuing Mendoza-Garcia on foot.
The deputy shouted to Mendoza-Garcia that he did not comply with the deputies commands, he would be tased. Mendoza-Garcia continued to run so the deputy deployed his taser. In the process, the deputy’s firearm fell out of his holster to the ground. One of the taser probes struck the running suspect in the right side of his back and stuck to his hoodie. The other probe apparently didn’t make contact. Mendoza-Garcia reach back and pulled the probe off. The deputy chased Mendoza-Garcia to a residence in the area, where the suspect finally stopped running. He put his hands in the air and walked back toward the deputy.
The deputy ordered him to the ground. Mendoza-Garcia asked why the deputy was chasing him. Neighbors who knew Mendoza-Garcia came out of their residences and told him to get on the ground and obey the deputy’s commands. Mendoza-Garcia laid on his stomach and placed his hands out. A Safford police officer arrived and placed him in handcuffs. A DPS trooper also arrived on scene and waited by the deputies firearm until he retrieved it.
Mendoza-Garcia was placed in a patrol vehicle and transported to the Graham County Jail. While at the jail, Mendoza-Garcia began to have breathing problems. While waiting to be processed, he was acting as if he couldn’t breath and began closing his eyes. He refused to follow jail staff’s instructions. A nurse came to evaluate him and found that his heart rate was 180. She said the jail would not be able to accept him is his condition and that he would need to be medically cleared at the hospital.
Mendoza-Garcia was escorted to the hospital. While he was being treated, the deputy told the hospital staff that he had deployed his taser but didn’t think that it made contact with Mendoza-Garcia. After an examination, the deputy was told that there were no markings on Mendoza-Garcia and it appeared that the taser probes never made contact. Mendoza-Garcia was eventually medically cleared and booked into the Graham County Jail for his warrant.