Superior, AZ -- When a person is charged by police and there is no bystander video evidence, it is that person's word against the officer's. In nearly all cases, courts will take the officer's word over the alleged criminal and as a result, countless innocent people have done time in prison. Police also maintain control over body camera footage and as Aaron Maughan's case illustrates, if police claim the footage was lost, it is up to you to find it.
In 2017, Maughan admitted to eluding police and was taken into police custody while being 100 percent compliant. The fact that he complied with the officer's orders however, was no defense against his subsequent torture.
Video, which was thought to be "lost" now shows what happened while Maughan was taken into custody and as a result, the charges -- for which he did time in jail for -- were dropped.
According to police, Maughan eluded them during a traffic stop in an off-road pursuit but was found sleeping outside a convenience store the next morning. What happened after police officers Christian Ensley and Brett Marsden found him is now the subject of a lawsuit against the Superior Police Department.
“As Marsden secured the handcuffs on Maughan’s wrists, Ensley unholstered his taser. Marsden handcuffed Maughan, and said, “He’s good.” Maughan was in handcuffs and completely subdued. Ensley started yelling at Maughan to roll over onto his back. Maughan could not move because Marsden was sitting on his back. Ensley tased Maughan,” according to the claim. “Tasing a subdued handcuffed subject was unnecessary and excessive and amounts to the crime of aggravated assault by Ensley abetted by Marsden. “
As the video shows, the use of force by the officers was so over the top that a bystander asked them to stop. Instead of stopping, however, Ensley threatened the bystander.
Maughan would later plead guilty to eluding police and spent two years in jail for it. For some reason, however, a year after Maughan was sentenced to prison, the Superior police department hit him with new charges for the same incident. This time he was facing "resisting" charges.
'As the video below clearly shows, however, Maughan was the victim of an assault and was not resisting in the least. This is likely why the video was reported "lost" by the department when Maughan sought to obtain it. Luckily for Maughan, his attorney found it.
“Superior Police Department officials, presumably Ensley, told the prosecutor that there was no (body camera footage) because the ‘disk had crashed.’ From our prior dealings with the Superior Police Department, we know that all OBC is stored on two separate servers that mirror each other," according to the notice of claim written by Maughan’s attorney. “We also checked the Town of Superior City Council minutes for last year and found no indication that the SPD ever reported the disk crashed or sought funds to repair or replace the disk drive. We believe SPD has the OBC or has access to it, but fully intend to investigate this issue when we litigate this case.”
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In other words, these criminal cops simply lied and claimed the video was lost when in reality, it was right where it was supposed to be. Once the video was produced, the charges against Maughan were dropped.
On top of the fact that police claimed to have lost the video, they also falsified the report from that day and made no mention of the use of force.
As ABC15 reports:
But ABC15 obtained an apparently undisclosed police report authored by Ensley that shows he wrote a series of false statements about the facts of the arrest and his use of force.
Ensley claimed they struggled with Maughan for “a few minutes” and that they weren’t able to handcuff him until after he tasered him.
Both statements are clearly false.
Maughan was approached and handcuffed within 35 seconds. The taser was also deployed after he was handcuffed and Officer Marsden told Ensley that Maughan was “good,” meaning handcuffed.
According to the report, Ensley has a long and troubled career in law enforcement having been fired or investigated in at least six departments.
Only due to the fact that Maughan's attorneys knew about the video is Maughan now a free man. Others have not been so lucky.
Days prior to the report from ABC15, the charges against Maughan were dropped.
“Apparently, the sudden emergence of the video also changed the Pinal County Attorney’s view of the case. Last week, after ABC15 sought comment from the Pinal County Attorney’s Office about its story, all the charges against Maughan were dismissed,” the notice of claim said.
Below is that "lost" video.