Three officers and a sergeant were placed on administrative leave after a surveillance video surfaced of the cops engaging in a gang-style beatdown of an unarmed man at an apartment complex in Mesa, Arizona, on May 23.
The police were responding to a domestic disturbance call when they attacked the suspect’s friend, Robert Johnson, for standing instead of sitting against a wall; police knew he was unarmed.
Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista told KSAZ that he was unaware of the brutal beating by his own officers for about 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.” I examined it, and I immediately opened up an investigation.
Pastor Andre Miller, along with lawyers Benjamin Taylor and Joel Robbins, said Johnson was “cooperative” and “following police instructions” when he was beaten:
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.
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.