The officer — who is now retired — said he shot the man out of fear of being run over by the stolen car. However, the family claims officer-worn body camera footage shows a different story.
Yasir Fardan Jr., 26, of Springfield, has been charged with stealing a motor vehicle, failing to stop for police, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, driving with a suspended license and three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, according to court records.
The charges stem from an incident in which prosecutors accused Fardan of stealing a gray sedan and attempting to run down Springfield police on the morning of Nov. 16, 2022.
Fardan’s family has released the officer-involved body camera footage from the November shooting.
Part of the video can be viewed below:
According to a police report, Fardan was engaged in a city-wide high-speed chase with Springfield police officers responding to a call of a stolen vehicle.
Officers followed the reportedly stolen car to a driveway on Woodside Terrace. According to a Springfield police report, three officers then left their vehicles in an attempt to arrest Fardan.
As officers approached the vehicle, Fardan put the car in reverse in an effort to hit police, the report stated, adding that one of the officers had to quickly move out of the way to avoid being hit. The vehicle wound up striking a Springfield police cruiser, according to the police report.
After repeated attempts to arrest Fardan, and to prevent injury to officers or any bystanders, Springfield police officer Richard Ward fired multiple shots into the vehicle, with one hitting Fardan in his elbow, the report read.
The video shows Ward and another Springfield police officer firing several shots at Fardan in the gray sedan. Police can be seen pulling Fardan out of the car and placing him under arrest seconds after the shooting took place, seconds after Fardan kicked some of the windows out of the sedan while writhing in pain.
Authorities immediately gave Fardan first aid following the shooting.
Responding officers had their body-warn cameras off before the shooting occurred. Fardan’s attorney previously called the absent footage suspicious during a December dangerousness hearing in which a judge deemed Fardan not dangerous.
Community activist and spokesperson for the Fardan family, Charles Stokes, said they believe the footage shows the shooting was “unwarranted” and the officers were in no apparent danger.
“The shooting was a blatant disregard for public safety and therefore we call for [Ward’s] arrest for attempted murder,” the Fardan family wrote in a statement.
Ward retired from the Springfield Police Department in February after more than 20 years on the force.
The Hampden County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the use of deadly force, according to district attorney spokesperson James Leydon.
“The open criminal felony case involving Mr. Fardan and the theft of a motor vehicle is progressing in court. The use of force review remains under investigation and any public findings will occur once his criminal case has been resolved in order to protect the defendant’s rights during the court process,” Leydon wrote in a statement.
Hampden County prosecutors have waited nearly six months to bring Fardan’s charges to the superior court as officials review the incident.
During a May 11 court hearing, a district judge told state prosecutors that a six-month delay for an indictment is “excessive” and motioned to reduce Fardan’s bail to $2,500.
If he posts bail, he’ll also be confined to his mother’s residence, must stay away from drugs and be mandated to report to probation twice a week.
Fardan is due back in court on June 12 for a status hearing.