Mesa, AZ — A shocking video has surfaced out of Mesa, Arizona this week showing a half-dozen cops jump an unarmed and non-violent man—punching him in the head until he falls unconscious to the floor. Despite several cops participating in the beating, not one word of it was mentioned in a report and the chief claims he had no idea it even happened.
The video is of an incident from May 23, in which police were responding to a call at an apartment complex. The Mesa Police department says they received a call from a woman stating that 20-year-old Erick Reyes was trying to get into the apartment of his ex-girlfriend.
When police arrived on the scene, Reyes and another man, 33-year-old Robert Johnson were leaving the complex. When police told Reyes to sit down on the ground, he reportedly complied with their order. Johnson was given the same order as he walked to the elevator.
Instead of sitting on the ground, Johnson, likely knowing he had done nothing wrong, simply sat against the wall. Apparently, this was not enough to appease the officers who then swarmed the unarmed and seemingly innocent man.
Cops are then seen on video brutally punching the non-violent man in the face and kneeing him in the stomach. Even after he's knocked unconscious, the massive cop in front of him pummels his face as he falls to the ground.
In a statement this week, Mesa police chief Ramon Batista claimed he had no idea that this video existed nor did he know his officers savagely beat a man for no reason. Once it was publicly released, four of the officers involved in the incident were placed on administrative leave.
"I didn't know anything about this, and the way I learned about this is because a member of the community sent me the video and said, 'hey, this looks very alarming, and I need you to look at it,'" said Chief Batista. "I examined it, and I immediately opened up an investigation."
After the video went public late last night, the chief claimed his officers simply made a mistake.
"This in no way represents the whole work that is done every day," Batista said of his department. "They're human beings and certainly at first glance, this looks like a mistake."
The "mistake" nearly killed a man. What's more, the officers never reported it and then charged Johnson with disorderly conduct and hindering in an apparent attempt to cover their tracks.
The video made its way to Johnson's pastor who is teaming up with his attorney to aid in Johnson's defense.
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"There is no explanation that you can justify that level of force," said Pastor Andre Miller with New Beginnings Church.
"I understand that police have to use force in certain situations," Miller said. "At the end of the day, when do you not use force?"
On Tuesday, Pastor Andre Miller, Attorney Joel Robbins, and Attorney Benjamin Taylor released the following statement in regard to the incident.
"On May 23rd, 2018, Robert Johnson was beaten by multiple Mesa Police officers while others looked on. Mr. Johnson was cooperative and following police instructions. Mr. Johnson was sitting peacefully against a wall when the assault began. He did not resist. The misconduct of these officers would have gone unnoticed if it had not been captured by surveillance videos at the apartment complex where the assault occurred.
We hope and pray that the Mesa Police Department will accept responsibility for the misconduct of these officers. Mesa must take concrete steps to ensure that culpable officers are disciplined, retrained, or dismissed. The Mesa Police Department must develop a law enforcement culture that meets community and constitutional norms and ensures that police and citizens go home safely after police interactions.
We plan on holding a press conference Thursday, June 7, 2018 to discuss this incident and the culture of violence at the Mesa Police Department."
Below is this graphic video.
Here is the entire raw video below:
Body camera footage:
Mesa police are no strangers to violence and corruption. For those who don't remember, in March of 2016, Mesa Police Officer Philip Brailsford was charged with second-degree murder for gunning down Daniel Shaver, an innocent husband, and father of two.
The shooting was captured on body cam footage and showed an innocent unarmed dad beg for his life as he crawled on the ground just before Brailsford opened fire and murdered him. In December, a jury, apparently blinded by the badge delivered a verdict of not guilty.