A Wisconsin police officer had enjoyed a mandatory period of leave after shooting and wounding a man earlier in March. On his first day back in the job, the officer got in a car chase, before shooting and killing an armed suspect.
Last Saturday, Kenosha police officer Pablo Torres returned from 10 days of leave, taken after he’d shot a man advancing on police with knives. During this period of administrative leave, Torres attended annual in-service training.
Lieutenant Brad Hetlet gave a comment explaining that on Saturday morning police began pursuit of a car driven by 26-year-old Caucasian man Aaron Siler. Police officers were trying to arrest Siler on a felony probation and parole warrant. At around 9.30am Siler crashed and briefly escaped on foot.
Shortly afterwards Torres found and confronted Siler, but when Siler “armed himself with a weapon,” Torres fatally shot him – according to the statement from Hetlet.
It’s reported that Kenosha police have not immediately responded to requests for more information about the shooting, including the type of weapon Siler was said to be brandishing at the time he was killed.
In an interview given to Fox6now, Siler’s mother Lisa Toppi reveals that she grew up with police officer Torres.
“That`s the hardest part for me because he was my friend. And this is my son. And now he`s gone.”
Toppi also questioned why Officer Torres was on patrol in the first place.
“I didn`t understand how he was allowed back to be on the streets again after the first shooting.”
Kenosha police have said that their policy is to put officers on a two-day leave after a shooting. In the case of Torres, police said he took additional annual in-service training.
It’s said that Siler had not led a straight and narrow, law-abiding path up until that point. He was convicted of strangulation and suffocation in 2013, which Toppi said stemmed from an argument with his girlfriend and the mother of his child. But he felt remorse.
“After the whole…that incident, he felt — he knew he did wrong. He felt terrible.”
She also speculated that a fear of returning to jail could have caused him to run, but now she is grieving struggling to come to terms with recent events.
“Pablo, you were my friend. Why did you have to shoot him so many times? That was my baby. That was my baby.”
At a challenging time for police officers and forces across the U.S., is this another example of trigger-happy police wielding their power too freely?
[Image – Sean Krajacic/AP ]