MESA, Arizona. – A lawyer for an Arizona man whose beating by police was caught on camera says the Mesa Police officers should be suspended and disciplined.
Four officers are on leave while the department investigates the May 23 incident in which three police officers are seen punching the man, who can’t seem to resist arrest. Other officers also were in the area. The video is from an apartment complex with a security camera.
Attorney Benjamin Taylor said his client, Robert Johnson, but it was no threat and had already been searched when the police started punching him.
Mesa police say the officers were responding to a call from a woman who said that her ex-boyfriend tried to break into her apartment. The police arrived and found the ex-boyfriend, Erick Reyes, 20, along with Johnson, 33. Both were held.
The video shows Johnson standing against a wall looking at his phone while Reyes is sitting on the ground. There is no audio. Agents can foresee Johnson and then quickly punching him numerous times. She pulls him to the ground and pull him over. Johnson seems never to threaten or resist the officers.
“He is a good guy and he didn’t deserve to be beaten,” Taylor said. Taylor said he wants the charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing the prosecution to be dropped.
Mesa police chief Ramon Batista said that the incident was brought to his attention by a Mesa pastor, asks him to launch an internal investigation and place three officers and a sergeant on leave. Batista has said that he is issuing a directive which prohibits civil servants from hitting people in the face, head and neck, unless there is active aggression against them.
The department has been criticized in recent years for incidents relating to the use of violence. An ex-officer who was fired for violating the department policy was tried, but acquitted of the murder charges in 2016 the fatal shooting of a Texas man who was unarmed and on the ground.