Chandler, AZ -- In May 2014, Luke Hein was arrested after officers accused him of interfering with an officer’s investigation. However, recently released body camera footage shows that Hein was asked by police for help, gave them help, and was then assaulted and charges fabricated against him.
The incident began after Hein’s ex-girlfriend, Zoe Shunick, had crashed a car into a tree at the couple’s apartment complex while driving drunk. Shunick was uncooperative with police and refused to exit her vehicle. At this point, Hein, who was inside his apartment, had come outside to see what was happening.
As Hein talked to police, they asked him to help talk Shunick out from the car. After successfully calming her down and getting her out of the vehicle, one officer who apparently couldn't wait to escalate the situation, shoved Shunick.
Seeing a cop brutalize a woman like this prompted Hein to say, "Hey."
When the cop's violence was questioned, the situation became even more chaotic. As the body cam shows, officer Brian Hawkins, then grabs Hein, slams him into the hood of the car and chokes him -- for helping them.
Quickly realizing that his temper got the best of him, Hawkins immediately said, “I apologize things went the way they did.” Shortly after, he said, “I’m not charging you with any crime.”
After Hein is told that he will not be charged with a crime, several more officers arrive on scene, one of whom is Sgt. William Nocella.
ABC 15 reports what happened next as Nocella discusses falsifying charges against Hein:
When getting briefed from Officer Hawkins about what happened, Sgt. Nocella said, “So he can go ahead and head to jail, right?”
As Hawkins responds by saying he doesn’t have a problem with letting Hein go, Nocella interrupts and said, “Once the handcuffs go on, he goes to jail.”
Nocella continues, “If you date an animal, this type of (expletive) happens. So if he decides to help an animal and not act like a law-abiding citizen, his sorry (expletive) goes to jail.”
“Hindering?” asks Officer Hawkins, regarding what charge they should place on Hein.
“Hindering, uh, not following or obeying, whatever,” Nocella answers. “You were here. If you can make a stretch, if he raises his voice above what mine is now, he goes for (disorderly conduct). But he goes in a patrol car going to jail in the next five (minutes).”
Hein was subsequently arrested and charged with a crime that he never committed.
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It took months for the department to complete their "investigation," and once the video was finally shown to prosecutors all charges against Hein were dropped.
For lying on video and falsely accusing a man of a crime, Nocella was given a single day of suspension. However, as police records indicate, falsifying charges was only the tip of the iceberg.
As the body cam footage later revealed, the police report was entirely false. According to their report, Shunick "charged" officers prompting the attack, but the footage shows that never happened.
Also, after the footage was released, an investigation revealed that Nocella approached the two officers and reprimanded them for wearing body cameras.
In an interview with internal investigators, Hawkins said Nocella “pressured” him to stop wearing it.
“He told me that these cameras will never help us they will only hurt us,” Hawkins said.
As for Nocella, ABC15 asked Chandler Police if Hawkins' claims against Nocella were investigated further. A spokesman said, “There has not been a subsequent investigation; it is closed.”
Nocella remains on the job and a danger to public safety -- entirely financed by the citizens of Chandler.
Below is a perfect example of why there is a growing mistrust of police in America.
Here is the raw footage.