Arizona officers on administrative leave after punching unarmed man

The police chief in Mesa, Arizona, says he was "disappointed" by a video that shows officers punching and kneeing an ...

Posted: Jun 7, 2018 1:56 PM
Updated: Jun 7, 2018 1:56 PM

The police chief in Mesa, Arizona, says he was "disappointed" by a video that shows officers punching and kneeing an unarmed man.

A police sergeant and three officers have been placed on administrative leave after the May 23 incident at an apartment complex.

While an attorney for Robert Johnson, 33, said he provided no reason for officers to strike him, the Mesa Police Association said Johnson "was not compliant and physically resisted what we feel was a lawful detention."

Police Chief Ramon Batista acted after a community member showed him a surveillance video of the beating a week after the incident, said Detective Nik Rasheta.

The officers are the subject of an internal investigation.

'He was unarmed and then they just attacked'

Johnson was with a friend who police say was trying to enter an ex-girlfriend's apartment, prompting a 911 call, Batista told CNN affiliate KNXV. The responding officer was told of a possible weapon at the apartment.

Johnson lives in the building and was not trespassing, according to his attorney, Benjamin Taylor.

Officers approached Johnson and his friend, searched Johnson, found he had no weapons and asked him to sit by the wall, police said.

In the video, Johnson is seen leaning against the wall and looking at his cell phone before being surrounded by officers and punched multiple times in the head and struck with a knee. He slumps to the ground. Three officers landed blows, police said.

"He wasn't resisting," Taylor told CNN. "He was unarmed and then they just attacked."

Batista said the department will put out a special directive that says officers will not strike anyone in the head who isn't trying to harm them.

CNN was unable Wednesday to speak with the police chief. Authorities were expected to release an incident report and bodycam footage.

Union: Released video doesn't tell the whole story

The chief told CNN affiliates KPHO and KTVK that Johnson's leaning against the wall and what he said to them made the officers feel as though they needed to have him sit down. He did not elaborate on what might have been said. Taylor said Johnson was being cooperative.

"I am disappointed in what I saw," he said of the video, which police released to media on Tuesday. It did not appear to have audio.

The Mesa Police Association, which represents several of the officers involved in the incident, said in a statement that officers were sent to a dangerous domestic situation, and that officers acted to end the confrontation quickly and prevent anyone from falling over a short guardrail.

"We feel it was grossly inappropriate to release a portion of video with no audio that does not include the full context of the encounter. Furthermore, we do not understand why video is being released when an internal investigation has not been completed."

Taylor said Wednesday that his client, who was charged with disorderly conduct, was knocked out and is still in pain two weeks later. "This is going to affect him for the rest of his life."

Taylor said he will ask for charges to be dismissed, given the video. "For them to exert that force on him is unconscionable," said Taylor.

"No matter what age, race and gender you are, police should not be attacking and hurting people when they're there to serve and protect."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 24190

Reported Deaths: 1036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin8181606
Ramsey2863122
Stearns201413
Nobles15125
Anoka136370
Dakota126354
Washington61731
Olmsted60810
Kandiyohi4901
Rice4522
Clay42426
Scott4082
Todd3130
Wright3051
Mower3031
Sherburne2372
Carver2062
Benton1753
Steele1590
Blue Earth1380
Martin1295
St. Louis11814
Freeborn1150
Pine890
Nicollet8610
Unassigned8610
Winona7915
Carlton730
Watonwan710
Cottonwood700
Crow Wing682
Goodhue663
Otter Tail640
Chisago611
Polk612
Itasca5410
Dodge520
Chippewa491
Lyon490
Morrison450
Meeker450
Le Sueur441
Douglas410
Becker390
Jackson390
Murray390
McLeod340
Isanti320
Waseca260
Rock220
Mille Lacs191
Faribault180
Swift180
Wabasha180
Fillmore171
Pennington170
Sibley160
Brown152
Beltrami140
Cass132
Norman130
Pipestone120
Kanabec111
Wilkin113
Marshall100
Pope90
Wadena90
Aitkin80
Koochiching70
Yellow Medicine60
Mahnomen61
Lincoln50
Renville50
Big Stone40
Grant40
Red Lake40
Redwood40
Clearwater30
Hubbard30
Traverse30
Lac qui Parle30
Roseau30
Houston20
Lake10
Kittson10
Stevens10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 19217

Reported Deaths: 531
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk4160125
Woodbury274034
Black Hawk173944
Linn94976
Dallas89220
Marshall89216
Buena Vista7350
Johnson6149
Wapello5589
Muscatine55641
Crawford5142
Tama40227
Scott35810
Dubuque34518
Louisa34311
Jasper26116
Pottawattamie2578
Sioux2190
Washington1888
Wright1670
Plymouth1292
Warren1260
Allamakee1204
Story1091
Mahaska9310
Poweshiek908
Henry711
Bremer696
Des Moines621
Clinton611
Boone610
Taylor540
Clarke530
Guthrie503
Cedar461
Benton411
Webster391
Monroe385
Shelby370
Jones360
Hamilton350
Clayton343
Iowa330
Buchanan330
Osceola330
Marion320
Cerro Gordo281
Cherokee280
Madison282
Fayette270
Lee250
Winneshiek240
Monona240
Jefferson230
Harrison220
Davis210
Lyon210
Dickinson200
Grundy200
Mills190
Floyd191
Sac180
Humboldt170
Lucas170
Hardin160
Hancock160
Delaware150
Keokuk150
Clay150
Appanoose153
Butler151
Emmet140
Ida140
Page130
Greene130
Franklin130
Cass120
Howard120
Audubon121
Jackson120
Winnebago110
Pocahontas110
Chickasaw100
Carroll90
Van Buren90
Adair90
Kossuth90
Union70
Adams70
Montgomery70
Palo Alto60
Unassigned60
Fremont40
Mitchell40
Ringgold40
Worth30
Calhoun20
Wayne10
Decatur10
Rochester
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 54°
Mason City
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 57°
Albert Lea
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 55°
Austin
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 55°
Charles City
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 55°
Sunnier skies for the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Rochester People's Rally

Image

Religious leaders call for justice for George Floyd

Image

Rochester downtown under curfew Saturday night

Image

Sean Weather 5/30

Image

Governor Walz GivesUpdate

Image

Gov. Walz Addresses Minnesotans in Overnight Press Conference

Image

Riots, Fires continue in Minneapolis

Image

Protesters in Downtown Rochester

Image

Mower County Fair will go on as planned

Image

Minneapolis Gas Stations Shut Down

Community Events