Four Mesa police officers are on administrative leave following an incident last month in which a suspect was punched several times and it was captured on video.
Police Chief Ramon Batista tells Phoenix TV station ABC15 he wasn’t notified of the May 23 incident until a week after it occurred and he then began an investigation.
“I am disappointed in what I saw,” he said.
Officers responded to a domestic violence call at a Mesa apartment after a woman claimed her 20-year-old ex-boyfriend tried to break in.
Responding officers say they encountered two men leaving the area and told both to sit down. The ex-boyfriend complied, but Robert Johnson, 33, did not.
Apartment surveillance video shows officers closing in and punching Johnson repeatedly.
“This in no way represents the whole work that is done every day,” Batista said of his department. “They’re human beings and certainly at first glance, this looks like a mistake.”
Johnson was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and hindering prosecution.
Johnson’s friend told ABC 15 he was furious about the incident.
“I’m enraged. It doesn’t seem fair. He told me that the cops walked up on him, didn’t ask him any questions,” Gordon Stitt said.
Johnson’s pastor agrees.
“There is no explanation that can justify that level of force,” said Pastor Andre Miller with New Beginnings Church.
Miller said he hopes all of the officers involved are fired.
“I understand that police have to use force in certain situations,” Miller said. “At the end of the day, when do you not use force?” Source