Mesa police rough up 15 year old armed robbery suspect។Police in Mesa, Arizona have launched an independent probe after disturbing new bodycam footage emerged showing cops roughing up a 15-year-old armed robbery suspect, the city’s second police brutality incident in recent weeks.
Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista on Friday announced a independent investigation into the videotaped encounters, after releasing footage of the May 17 arrest of a 15-year-old Native American male.
It comes just days after five Mesa cops were suspended over surveillance footage showing them beating black suspect Robert Johnson, 33, on May 23 while responding to a domestic violence call.
The May 17 incident unfolded as cops were responding to a 911 caller at a Circle K convenience store, who said that a male suspect pointed a sawed-off shotgun with a pistol grip and then smashed it into a car windshield.
Another witness reported that the teen boasted he had a gun and was going to rob the store, before walking inside and taking drinks.
Bodycam footage shows officers approaching and surrounding the suspect and a 16-year-old female he was with.
The teens are ordered to lay flat on the ground, where the suspect unleashes a stream of expletives at the officers, calling them ‘motherf**kers’ and ‘p***y a** n*****s’.
The cops handcuff and search the two teens. Finding no gun they haul the male suspect to his feet and march him to the hood of a police car, as he babbles about ‘just trying to get home’.
‘Are you done talking?’ says one officer, as another presses on what the police report describes as a pressure point behind the suspect’s ear.
An officer said he ‘applied pressure to (the suspect’s) mandibular angle pressure point below his left ear’ to keep him from moving around, according to the report obtained by CNN.
The officers continue to grill the suspect on where the gun is as he repeatedly says ‘I’m just tryna get home to my grandma!’
The cops twist the suspect’s arms high behind his back and he screams as if in pain, denying he knows anything about a gun.
‘I’m not here f**king playing games, you try and move on me one more time I’mma f**k you up,’ one of the officer says as another cops searches the suspect.
The teen apologizes to the officer and said he didn’t mean to ‘disrespect’ him.
A shotgun was discovered minutes later inside a backpack nearby.
It follows the release earlier this week of video of the shocking May 23 beating of Johnson in a separate incident.
In that case, Mesa police were responding to a call from a woman who said her ex-boyfriend was trying to break into her apartment.
Police arrived and found the ex-boyfriend, Erick Reyes, 20, along with Johnson, 33. Both were detained.
Surveillance video shows Johnson standing against a wall looking at his phone while Reyes is sitting on the ground. There is no audio, but bodycam audio reveals Johnson curses and insults the officers, and one cop claimed he was spit upon.
Officers can be seen approaching Johnson and then quickly punching him numerous times. They pull him to the ground and flip him over.
Chief Batista said at a press conference on Friday that the body camera footage of the two incidents last month left him ‘angry and deeply disappointed.’
‘Please know that the actions shown on that video and all these recent videos do not reflect the vast majority of the men and women of the Mesa police department,’ the police chief said.
‘Our officers deal with difficult and life threatening situations and they put their lives on the line to protect this city.’
Batista announced multiple independent probes examining both the specific incidents in question and longer-term trends in the department.
‘We will work every day to make sure these situations don’t happen again,’ Batista said. ‘I will be relentless in my pursuit of organizational excellence … I promise you I will fix this.’
Internal investigations are also underway in both cases, and the police department in nearby Scottsdale will investigate and make recommendations to prosecutors about possible charges.
Batista also said he had hired former Maricopa County attorney Richard M. Romley to undertake a separate investigation to ensure transparency and accountability in the process.
Romley told reporters his review will take several months and is not intended to determine if any officers should be charged.
‘I will report directly to the chief, working to ensure there is thoroughness and objectivity in this review,’ Romley said.
Batista said he has also asked the Washington-based Police Executive Research Forum to conduct an independent review of cases involving force by Mesa police over the past three years.
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