Police conduct investigation involving an officer who hit a suspect with his patrol car
YAKIMA, Wash. - Police are investigating an arrest in which a Yakima Police Officer used his patrol car to take down an armed robbery suspect.
Police said there is a dash cam video documenting the incident but are not releasing it at this time. However, police described the video and said the suspect was running from the scene when the officer hit him with his car to try and stop him. The suspect then flew over a fence while his weapons fell out of his pockets and then the suspect got back up and tried to run away, but was shortly after arrested.
According to police, on Sunday night, Francisco Madrigal and Jesus Chavez attempted to rob Tacos El Rey restaurant.
Police reports state the two held employees at gunpoint demanding money. The robbers ran out of the restaurant with over $1,000 in cash, but the money was retrieved when police caught the suspects.
A police are conducting an investigation because an officer potentially used lethal force.
Yakima Police Spokesperson Mike Bastinelli said this is just standard procedure.
"In a case like this there was an armed robbery that had just been committed," he said. "The officer made a determination that he felt the suspect was a threat, he was armed and going through the neighborhood."
Bastinelli said two investigations will be conducted, an administrative one in which the department will determine if the officer followed policies and procedures and a criminal one in which detectives will determine if a crime was committed or not.
Police said the suspect was not injured from being hit by the car and appeared in court the next day.
Both Madrigal and Chavez are being held for first degree robbery and first degree assault.
Bastinelli said officers can do anything in their power to protect the public, including using a car as a weapon.
"Their goal is to protect not only themselves but the public and so he used whatever measure he felt necessary to protect the public," he said.
Officer Thomas Tovar was the one who struck one of the suspects with his car and he was put on administrative leave on Monday while police inspected his car, but police say he is now back on duty.
Police say the investigation could take up to two weeks.