Mesa, Arizona, police video shows officers punch, mock suspect

The Mesa, Arizona, Police Department, ...

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 10:12 AM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 10:12 AM

The Mesa, Arizona, Police Department, already under scrutiny over allegations of excessive force, says it's reviewing another controversial arrest and video -- the latest showing an officer repeatedly punching an unarmed man who was later mocked by an officer as he lies on a hospital floor covered in blood.

The emergence of bodycam video from a January arrest comes after Mesa police released videos last week showing the arrest of a teenager, who at times screamed in pain while being searched.

The department was already reeling after surveillance footage emerged of officers punching and kneeing an unarmed man in a May 23 arrest. The charges against the man, Robert Johnson, were dropped on Thursday, CNN affiliate KNXV reported.

The latest video shows the January 28 arrest of Jose Conde, 23, who was in the passenger seat of a car that Conde's lawyer said was stopped for driving without headlights. Bret Royle, the lawyer, said he received the bodycam videos from prosecutors after he rejected a plea deal in connection with Conde's case.

In videos from several officers, it appears the traffic stop quickly escalated into a scuffle after Conde stepped out of the car. At least two other officers tried to subdue Conde. A police report said Conde resisted arrest and threw punches at an officer who found cocaine concealed in his sock.

In one part of the video, someone is heard saying "f--- you" before Officer Joseph Mis punches Conde, who appears to be handcuffed.

Conde screamed in pain and, at one point, told the officers, "I can't breathe."

"Quit fighting," one officer tells Conde.

An officer is heard telling Conde in the scuffle, "You picked the wrong people to fight, brother."

"I didn't fight you guys, dude," Conde responded. "You guys just started punching me."

'Bless his little heart'

Conde was taken to a hospital after suffering a cut to his ear when officers pushed him into a wall, according to the police report. Police said Conde tried to escape from the emergency room but an officer grabbed him and forced him against a wall.

In one video, a hospital worker walks with an officer over to Conde, who was bleeding from his head.

"Bless his little heart," the officer said.

Looking down on the bloody Conde, the officer said, "Awww."

"Man up," the officer added.

In a statement Thursday, Police Chief Ramon Batista said the department was reviewing the incident and "as more events come forward we will carefully review each incident as appropriate."

"Simply put, the tape released ... by media outlets does not tell the full story concerning this arrest," he said.

"With emotion running high on all sides, we know that despite our differences we are working towards the common goal ... to make the Mesa Police Department better than it has ever been."

'Laughed at me while I lay in a pool of my own blood'

At a news conference with Conde on Thursday, Royle said the bodycam videos showed the police reports were "at a minimum embellished, if not falsified." He said he was not planning a lawsuit against the department and wanted his client exonerated of the charges, including drug possession, resisting arrest, escape and aggravated assault.

"There are several officers within the Mesa Police Department that have demonstrated over the last couple of weeks their willingness to put themselves above the law rather than to protect and serve it," he said.

"In doing this they have disobeyed our trust. They violated the trust of the community. They violated the trust of fellow officers because when officers act like this it causes citizens to question the integrity of other good officers."

Royle said Conde was on probation for a DUI-related charge.

At the news conference, Conde read a statement that said he hoped his case brings "meaningful change" to the department.

"I was searched," he said. "I was thrown to the ground. I was heaved into a wall. I was (tasered). I was punched over and over by multiple cops. I was gouged in the eye and I was hit in the head with a massive police flashlight. After all of this, they laughed at me while I lay in a pool of my own blood barely conscious."

Police chief calls for investigation

Last week, the emergence of two earlier Mesa police videos prompted Batista to ask the Police Executive Research Forum "to conduct a comprehensive and fully independent investigation looking into our use of force events over the past three years, as well as our policies, procedure and training."

Batista also asked former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley to undertake a separate independent investigation of the department, he said.

One incident involved the arrest of a 15-year-old suspect on May 17 in response to a call of an armed robbery, according to police.

In bodycam video, an officer can be seen placing a foot behind the suspect's head while he is on the ground. The officer notes in the police report the boot was there to "keep him from getting up."

As police pull the suspect up and take him to a squad car, one officer is seen grabbing and holding the suspect by what the police report describes as a pressure point behind his ear.

The teenager is pushed against the squad car and repeatedly says, "I'm just trying to get home to my grandma." An officer again appears to hold the suspect by the pressure point near his ear while searching for a gun. The teenager begins screaming in apparent pain, continually denying he has a gun.

In the report, an officer said he "applied pressure to (the suspect's) mandibular angle pressure point below his left ear" to keep him from moving.

In the footage, officers pull the teenager's handcuffed arms behind his back and toward his head, and he appears to react in pain.

The suspect was arrested and booked on multiple charges, including armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Two officers were placed on administrative leave after footage of the boy's arrest was reviewed. An internal investigation is ongoing.

In a separate incident, on May 23, police said Johnson, 33, resisted arrest and did not comply with commands. But an attorney for Johnson said he did nothing to provoke the officers.

Surveillance footage showed officers punching and kneeing Johnson during the arrest.

Five officers have been placed on leave as a result of the case, according to the Mesa police.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 591445

Reported Deaths: 7367
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1224421730
Ramsey51212875
Dakota45791452
Anoka41604438
Washington26834283
Stearns22196222
St. Louis17734303
Scott17244124
Wright16009139
Olmsted1322598
Sherburne1167187
Carver1047545
Clay814492
Rice8037107
Blue Earth749641
Crow Wing663189
Kandiyohi654283
Chisago596651
Otter Tail574078
Benton568297
Goodhue477272
Douglas466375
Mower464832
Winona453950
Itasca435556
McLeod422559
Isanti419664
Morrison418260
Nobles407648
Beltrami394459
Steele386715
Polk383568
Becker379751
Lyon360251
Carlton345054
Freeborn341529
Pine327822
Nicollet325643
Brown305040
Mille Lacs303253
Le Sueur290922
Todd281632
Cass271328
Meeker255740
Waseca235922
Martin230531
Roseau209019
Wabasha20513
Hubbard188341
Dodge18453
Renville179743
Redwood174037
Houston171616
Cottonwood164821
Fillmore155910
Wadena155922
Pennington153619
Chippewa152138
Faribault152119
Kanabec144326
Sibley143110
Aitkin134736
Watonwan13219
Rock128119
Jackson121712
Pipestone115426
Yellow Medicine114120
Pope11006
Murray10619
Swift105218
Stevens90411
Marshall88117
Clearwater86616
Koochiching82715
Wilkin81112
Lake80919
Lac qui Parle75222
Big Stone6004
Lincoln5813
Grant5748
Mahnomen5469
Norman5399
Unassigned48993
Kittson48622
Red Lake3957
Traverse3695
Lake of the Woods3243
Cook1620

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 366827

Reported Deaths: 5937
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57596625
Linn20845335
Scott20025241
Black Hawk15803308
Woodbury15128228
Johnson1447483
Dubuque13368208
Dallas1117898
Pottawattamie11113168
Story1061248
Warren577088
Clinton555593
Cerro Gordo539789
Sioux514474
Webster512393
Marshall482975
Muscatine480799
Des Moines455766
Wapello4299122
Buena Vista424540
Jasper418872
Plymouth401180
Lee375755
Marion362575
Jones298957
Henry291637
Carroll285752
Bremer284360
Crawford266440
Boone264534
Benton256455
Washington254150
Dickinson248343
Mahaska230351
Jackson221742
Clay215525
Kossuth215364
Delaware209541
Tama209571
Winneshiek196834
Page192622
Buchanan191232
Cedar190023
Hardin185243
Fayette185041
Wright184637
Hamilton179849
Harrison179573
Clayton169456
Butler164934
Mills162322
Madison162219
Floyd160542
Cherokee158738
Lyon157941
Poweshiek154734
Allamakee151551
Iowa148724
Hancock147834
Winnebago142431
Cass138554
Calhoun138413
Grundy136333
Emmet134140
Jefferson132335
Shelby131037
Sac130319
Union128333
Louisa128049
Appanoose127949
Mitchell126342
Chickasaw124015
Guthrie121530
Franklin120021
Humboldt119126
Palo Alto112723
Howard104622
Montgomery103338
Clarke100124
Unassigned9710
Keokuk95831
Monroe95229
Ida90535
Adair86532
Pocahontas85522
Davis82924
Monona82830
Osceola78616
Greene77610
Lucas77323
Worth7478
Taylor65812
Fremont6229
Decatur6089
Van Buren55818
Ringgold55624
Wayne53923
Audubon51010
Adams3384
Rochester
Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 56°
Mason City
Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 53°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 57°
Austin
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 55°
Charles City
Cloudy
° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: °
Warmer conditions for the weekend
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events