Phoenix, AZ — AaRone Fowler has never committed a crime, has no police record, and has never harmed anyone. Even after he was beaten by police and thrown in the back of their cruiser Sunday night, that is still the case.
Fowler, 23, says he was at a friends house Sunday morning when two officers pulled up claiming to be responding to a noise complaint. Fowler says the officers then demanded to see he and his friend's identification cards.
According to Fowler, they complied and then were told they were free to go. However, when the officers started pulling on the door handles to Fowler's car, that's when all hell broke loose.
Police then tackled Fowler and slammed him into the ground and proceeded to beat him up after accusing him of stealing his own car.
“My whole face from my right side was dragged through the dirt and the mud," Fowler described. “They kept saying, 'Stop resisting,' but I kept saying, 'What am I doing? What did I do?'" Fowler says he begged officers not to kill him, according to ABC 15.
Police claimed that Fowler had stolen the vehicle, which is why they beat him up. However, after searching the vehicle, they found that it was registered to him.
“This is ridiculous, this needs to end," Fowler said.
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“They kept saying, 'You’re lucky you’re not going to jail,'" Fowler adds. "It’s not luck, it’s the law. I didn’t do anything to break the law.”
After roughing him up and realizing the innocent man had committed no crime, police let the two men go.
“They ended up just telling us to go about our night and let us out of the car. As we're getting our stuff we realized no, this is not okay.”
After the incident, police issued the following statement justifying their actions. They claim the car was reported stolen, but didn't arrest Fowler. It appears that Fowler had merely fallen behind on his payments, which is not a crime.
On March 17, 2019, at approximately 3:00 a.m., Phoenix Police Officers responded to a call of a fight in the area of 16th Street and Monroe Street. Prior to the officers' arrival, more information was received and the call was upgraded to a physical fight between two men. When the officers arrived, they found a vehicle stopped in the roadway with the hazard lights on. The officers attempted to contact two men outside of the vehicle, who refused to talk to them before contacting an attorney. The men started to walk away. Because the car was in the roadway, the officers said they would have to tow it. The two men walked back, arguing with the officers, stating they couldn't tow the vehicle. At that time, a records check revealed the car was an outstanding stolen vehicle from Scottsdale, Arizona.
The officers attempted to detain both men, who refused to comply with the officers' directions and a struggle ensued. One of the individuals was taken to the ground before he could be detained. When the struggle was over and both men were detained, the officers contacted the Scottsdale Police Department. At that time it was determined the vehicle was a valid stolen vehicle, however, the theft was based upon failure to meet financial obligations by the purchaser, who was one of the two men. Because of that, the officers elected to release the two men and towed the vehicle.
Because of allegations, the Professional Standards Bureau of the Phoenix Police Department is investigating this incident. Investigators would like to speak with both men, who have refused the attempts made thus far to contact them.
Police are now claiming to have launched an internal investigation.