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PHOENIX -- A former Phoenix police officer charged with murder and animal cruelty in the on-duty killing of a man and his dog during a domestic violence call has taken the witness stand in his trial.

Prosecutors said Richard Chrisman abused his police powers when he fatally shot 29-year-old Daniel Rodriguez in October 2010 even though the unarmed man posed no threat to officers.

Chrisman, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, aggravated assault and animal cruelty charges, has maintained the shooting was justified because Rodriguez reached for the officer's gun during a tussle that preceded the shooting.

The nine-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department began his testimony Tuesday explaining how he responded to the call with his partner. He was expected to continue testimony Tuesday afternoon.

Associated Press,

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