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Tempe Police Department officers recently tased a man who was still holding a toddler. Since then a firestorm erupted in the local community, while officials claim officers, given the circumstances, did their job accordingly.

The incident began police responded to a domestic violence call, where officers encountered Ivaughn Oakry. However, the scene escalated quickly as Oakry, the suspect in the domestic violence call, didn’t want to cooperate. So officers immediately threatened to hit the man with a taser.

Officer body cam footage shows the long standoff, where Oakry picks up a child during the heated exchange. Finally, after much arguing and threatening, officers finally hit Oakry with the Taser, child still in arms. Now many in the local community expressed anger over the police response.

Tempe PD Tases Suspect Holding Toddler

“This incident has left the entire family, but especially the children, with physical health problems and severe emotional trauma,” Black Lives Matter-Phoenix Metro stated in a news release, according to azcentral.com.

However, department officials see the incident differently. Instead of lethal force, the officers deployed less lethal means, and the child did not get hit with the Taser.

“They deployed the Tasers striking the suspect, and only the suspect, resulting in the suspect falling on a large pile of soft clothing and the officers were then given an opportunity to safely secure the child and take the suspect into custody,” said Tempe Police Chief Sylvia Moir, according to azcentral.com. “The child was never struck by the Tasers and Tasers do not conduct energy into a second person in this type of a deployment.”

“These innocent children and their mother were placed in harms way by the suspect and any suggestion that anybody else but this suspect put people in harms way is irresponsible,” Moir continued, according to azcentral.com.​

Tempe PD officers came to the scene for an alleged domestic violence incident. And then officers, instead of using lethal force, with children in the room, deployed a Taser to gain control of the situation.

“They determined they had a lawful right to enter that residence to safeguard those children and conduct a welfare check to ensure that those children in the home were safe,” said Tempe Police spokeswoman Det. Natalie Barela.

Authorities arrested Oakry and charged him with child endangerment and assault. However, officials later dismissed the charges, according to azcentral.com.

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