Man shot in the face by police takes stand in trial

PEORIA, AZ — A jury will choose Thursday if a male who was shot in the encounter by Peoria law enforcement through a traffic quit ought to be convicted of aggravated assault.

On Wednesday, Samuel Denk took the stand in his have demo, hoping to persuade the jury he under no circumstances meant to location Sgt. Miller “in affordable apprehension of imminent bodily injury” before Denk was shot in the facial area.

The shooting took place soon after a visitors end near 83rd Avenue and W. Cholla Street, just prior to 11 p.m. on March 27, 2019.

Sgt. Miller pulled in excess of Samuel Denk for not owning “tail lamps.”

In the law enforcement report, Sgt. Miller advised detectives he was cautiously approaching the car or truck due to the fact he saw the driver “achieving all over” and looking “at him working with the mirror.”

When Sgt. Miller was walking up to the driver’s facet door, he was greeted by Denk, who he rapidly assessed had a gun in his lap. The pursuing conversation transpired:

“Hey, how’s it going?” asks Denk.

“Alright…I’m Sgt. Miller with the Peoria Police Office…Do not reach for that firearm.”


“Place your hands on the steering wheel appropriate now,” suggests Sgt. Miller, in advance of yelling the command again.

“Set your fingers on the steering whe-(shot fired) -el!”


“S***… God****it!”

On Monday Sgt. Miller testified he noticed Denk shift his palms towards the gun in his lap, and his fingers contact the weapon, which is why he shot him in the facial area.

Below oath even though, Sgt. Miller clarified that Denk in no way “grabbed” the gun, as Peoria PD initially stated in their report.

The demo however, is not about Sgt. Miller. He has been criminally cleared.

It is about the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office pursuing an aggravated assault cost on Denk, immediately after he was the only human being injured.

“Did you have any intent to touch the weapon,” asked Jocquese Blackwell, Denk’s protection attorney.

“No,” replied Denk, contradicting Sgt. Miller. “Definitely not.”

Denk was adamant on the stand that he by no means supposed to damage or alarm Sgt. Miller, and that he never ever committed aggravated assault.

“Did you raise your palms?” asked Blackwell.

“I tried to,” reported Denk.

Throughout cross, the prosecutor asked Denk about why he kept the gun in his lap in the 1st put.

And why, if he knew an officer was approaching, did he not instantly put his arms on the steering wheel.

“Why failed to your arms go straight up?” asked the prosecutor, Sloan Johnson.

“They were being, it was a pure movement,” said Denk, making an attempt to present a slight dip just before increasing.

A juror posed a equivalent query to Denk: “You had time to set the gun on the sprint, why did not you?”

Soon after the decide browse the question, Denk stated, “Because it was nighttime, and I did not want to shift a gun with the officer approaching my automobile.”

In advance of Denk testified Wednesday, a video clip expert was on the stand for the defense. He slowed down and brightened the entire body camera video to much better present the jurors that the two of Denk’s palms had been up and empty the next in advance of he was shot in the facial area.

“You can see very very easily below in the B&W that there is nothing in the fingers,” reported the movie analyst.

The prosecution seemed to make the point that the time frame was so small that, by the time his hands have been climbing in the human body cam video, Sgt. Miller had currently felt threatened, made the choice to shoot, and was in the course of action of firing.

Just after the defense and prosecution rested, Mr. Blackwell questioned the choose to acquit Denk ahead of the jury at any time got the case to deliberate.

“I’m asking the court docket for an acquittal,” stated Blackwell. “They have not presented this court docket any evidence to establish [Denk’s] intent.”

The judge denied the request and claimed the situation will go to the jurors Thursday, right after closing arguments.

But right before he dominated on the motion, the judge gave a temporary remark.

“I comprehend Miller has said only just one hand touched the gun…This might be a circumstance wherever the officer is justified…and at the identical time the defendant is not committing the criminal offense of aggravated assault.”

We will continue on to follow the scenario and update this story once the jury reached a verdict.

As we noted in 2021, Denk’s law firm is civilly suing the police section arguing Denk never made a transfer for the pistol and that Sgt. Matthew Miller fired his weapon accidentally.