Attorney and former police officer Anthony Ramirez says he was at first skeptical of his client’s claims of police brutality — until he obtained body cam footage showing an Arizona officer pulling up to Joshua Dombrowski, shoving him to the ground, and performing a vicious arrest.
Dombrowski had been walking his bicycle down the sidewalk in a straight line on August 14, when a Mesa officer pulled up, jumped from his cruiser, and slammed him onto the ground — an act the man says happened for ‘no good reason.’
Ramirez acquired the Mesa Police Department officer’s report stating Dombrowski “forced two pedestrians” to “move off the sidewalk” to give him space, so the unnamed cop told the man to “stop” — and pursued him when he paused and then rode off “at a higher rate of speed.”
ABC News, who obtained body camera footage from Ramirez, explained, “When the officer caught up with Dombrowski and told him to sit on the ground, the officer said the man dismounted his bike and instead proceeded to ‘advance on me,’ according to the police report.”
In that report, the officer stated, “As instructed and taught in training, I performed an impact push to the rider and he toppled backwards over his bicycle.”
According to the officer, Dombrowski would not comply with orders to put his hands behind his back, and continued resisting even after backup arrived to assist — leading them to deploy a Taser multiple times.
“Dombrowski, who police said continued to scream and ‘violently thrash around’ after being put in handcuffs, was also placed in restraints to restrict his movement, according to the police report. He was arrested on charges of using physical force in resisting arrest, operating a bicycle emerging from an alley or driveway, and failing to obey a police officer, the police report states,” ABC News reports.
Body cam video documents only the latter portion of the officer’s encounter with the man, as Ramirez explained the cop didn’t begin recording until after brutally taking Dombrowski to the ground — but the camera had a common feature which activates silent recording 30 seconds prior to when the button is actually pressed.
“When I saw that, I was very concerned,” the attorney told ABC News. “It’s our contention that the police officer knew what he was doing in not starting the video until about 25 seconds into his beating of my client.”
In footage, a number of officers swarmed on top of Dombrowski, smash his face into the grass, and bark commands for him to put his hands behind his back, while a Taser is heard repeatedly being applied. Throughout the encounter, he screams in obvious agony.
Dombrowski had to be transported to Desert Banner Hospital for treatment for myriad cuts, scrapes, and bruises received during the vicious encounter, where police claimed medical staff discovered traces of methamphetamines, cocaine, alcohol, and THC in his system.
It must be noted, however, Ramirez said Dombrowski has not been charged with anything.
Also troubling in police accounts of the incident, an assisting officer’s body cam footage shows him asking a bystander to write a witness statement — and the perplexed man tells the cop, “I … I don’t know what the guy did wrong.”
The cop tells the eyewitness not to “make anything up,” and to simply “write what you saw” — but when the troubled man begins to tell the officer something about the recent national spate of “police brutality,” the cop becomes tellingly silent and motions to indicate their interaction is being recorded by his body cam, stating, “I’m rolling.”
“Don’t make anything up,” the officer states. “… Whatever you saw, just be as honest as you can.”
Ramirez told ABC News he’s troubled by the brutal nature of the arrest, and said Dombrowski had indeed been riding on the sidewalk, heard the officer yelling in his direction, but — not believing he’d done anything wrong — wasn’t certain the cop was speaking to him or one of many other people in the area.
So he proceeded to dismount and walk the bicycle down the sidewalk — until the officer pulled up and abruptly shoved him to the ground.
“Obviously, I have an issue of excessive force being used against my client for walking down the sidewalk,” Ramirez noted. “My client was literally pushing his bike down the street, walking in a straight line, and this police officer comes over and shoves him down.”
Further, though police claim the man resisted arrest and failed to comply with orders to put his hands behind his back, Ramirez contended that Dombrowski — who sported a backpack at the time — had not resisted, but was reacting to the pain of being repeatedly tasered.
Dombrowski filed his own claim against the City of Mesa before hiring Ramirez, alleging he was “abused, pushed into the ground, aggressed and manhandled for no good reason.”
Mesa police declined to provide comment to ABC News, citing “an ongoing internal investigation.”
In Dombrowski’s original claim — which Ramirez is working to update and specify a monetary sum — he states,
“I was just trying to find my way back home. I believe I was treated like a danger or a threat that I wasn’t being.”