GLENDALE- Glendale police officer Chandler Phillips, under investigation for fatally shooting a car theft suspect in October, is being criticized by the dead suspect’s mother and his own department. It surrounds a photo he recently posted on social media suggesting he was sad that he had been placed on temporary desk duty following the deadly shooting.
Phillips is one of two officers who opened fire and fatally shot John Pacheaco Jr. the evening of Oct. 31. Pacheaco was behind the wheel of a truck that had been reported stolen.
When Glendale officers approached the truck, which was stopped in traffic on Colorado Boulevard, they said Pacheaco was unresponsive. After a moment, video from a nearby surveillance camera shows the truck rolling forward slowly, then quickly backing up into an unmarked Glendale police vehicle.
Officers opened fire and Pacheaco was killed.
As Denver police and the Denver district attorney are investigating the shooting, Phillips posted a photo to a social media account showing him back at work appearing unhappy with a caption reading “stuck on desk duty” with a sad emoji.
Another caption on the photo reads “I’m a peacock you gotta let me fly.”
Lt. Jamie Dillon with the Glendale Police Department said ,”We were unaware of the photo posted to social media. We are not comfortable with the photo or the captions, and they are in poor taste to say the least. The Pacheaco family has suffered a tremendous loss and the situation should not be made light of in any way. The Glendale Police Department apologizes for the actions of our officer.”
Dillon said the department is now reviewing disciplinary options and ordered Phillips to remove the photo from his social media feed.
Pacheaco’s mother, Jamie Fowler, said she was “angry, hurt and in disbelief” over the photo.
“I don’t see any joke in it”, said Fowler. “What were you thinking when you posted that picture? What were you thinking? I can’t even think of a job where if I posted something like that I would still have a job.”
Fowler’s attorney, Matthew Haltzman, said what he believes Phillips’ photo shows is “To him its nothing more than a minor inconvenience to be made fun of, to be made light of. It also shows on a human level a lack of remorse. He was involved in a shooting that took the life of another person and that obviously does not weigh on him or bother him.”
CBS4 contacted Danny Foster, Phillips’ attorney who said, “Officer Phillips, understands how insensitive this post was. He never intended to make a joke of this incident. He is deeply sorry for this indiscretion. The post has been removed and Officer Phillips is committed to being more thoughtful in the future.”
Phillips and a second officer involved in the shooting are both at work, but performing administrative desk duties only, according to the Glendale Police Department.
“We regularly educate and counsel our officers about the perils of social media. They sometimes just don’t really understand how open and accessible their sites are,” Dillon said.
Brian Maass for CBS4