Mesa Police Chief: Officers on leave after video showing use of physical force surfaced

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 – Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista said three officers and sergeant are on administrative leave, after a video showing the use of physical force by officers surfaced.

The video reportedly involved an incident that happened as officers made contact with a man at an apartment complex.

In the roughly one-minute video, the man was standing on a ledge, and towards the end of the video, multiple punches were thrown before the man was wrestled to the floor.

In an interview with FOX 10’s Matt Rodewald, Chief Batista said he didn’t know anything about this for a week.

“I didn’t know anything about this, and the way I learned about this is because a member of the community sent me the video and said, ‘hey, this looks very alarming, and I need you to look at it,'” said Chief Batista. “I examined it, and I immediately opened up an investigation.”

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In a statement released by Mesa Police Wednesday afternoon, the incident took place at the 700 block of W. Main on May 23. Officers were called to the location in regards to a domestic disturbance incident with a firearm in the apartment. A female caller said that her ex-boyfriend was at the apartment with a second male subject, and was trying to force his way into the apartment. When officers arrived, they detained both male subjects.

The ex-boyfriend was identified as 20-year-old Erick Reyes, and the other man was identified as Robert Johnson, 33. According to the statement, the use of force incident happened during police contact with Johnson.

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Meanwhile, Pastor Andre Miller, along with Attorneys Benjamin Taylor and Joel Robbins, issued a joint statement on the incident on Tuesday, where they described Johnson as “cooperative” and “following police instructions”.

“The misconduct of these officers would have gone unnoticed if it had not been captured by surveillance videos at the apartment complex where the assault occurred,” read a portion of the statement. “The Mesa Police Department must develop a law enforcement culture that meets community and constitutional norms and ensures that police and citizens go home safely after police interactions.”

A news conference on the issue, according to the statement, is planned for Thursday.

 

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