The Scottsdale, Arizona Police Department refused to file charges against Mesa officers who beat an innocent unarmed man in an apartment hallway on May 23.
Scottsdale Police found that Mesa officers were legally justified in punching Robert Johnson multiple times, notes KNXV.
The police came to the apartment complex after getting a call from a woman who said her ex-boyfriend was trying to break into her apartment.
Police arrived and found the ex-boyfriend, Erick Reyes, along with Johnson.
Officers approached and spoke with Johnson shortly before pummeling him to the floor for not sitting.
One of the police officers claimed in a report that Johnson’s body language was justification for beating him:
Johnson’s body language was projecting he was preparing for a physical altercation. It appeared Johnson was trying not to sit down in order to retain a position of physical advantage by remaining on his feet.
Police charges filed against Johnson for this alleged crime, but those charged were dropped by the city attorney.
Sgt. Nate Gafvert, President of the Mesa Police Association, justified the police beating of Johnson based on “several indicators” of supposed future behavior:
Violence is ugly, it looks terrible, no matter what. Mr. Johnson was giving several indicators that he was going to resist arrest, that he was being verbally abusive to the officers. It was pretty clear that there should absolutely be no files charged on these officers.
Johnson’s lawyer, Benjamin Taylor, fired back:
You had footage from the apartment complex, Mesa police can’t finagle their way around this and cover their butts. You see what happened on the camera, he was brutalized, he was unarmed, and he was not a threat.
Sgt. Gafvert claimed that Johnson’s non-compliance made him a threat, but could not prove that claim, so he switched the topic to the officers’ training:
They could have absolutely detained him without the blows to the face if Mr. Johnson would have complied.
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