The Police Department in Mesa, Arizona have a lot of explaining to do this morning after horrific video surfaced of four officers savagely beating an unarmed man.
The incident happened on May 23, 2018 when a woman called police with the report that her ex-boyfriend was trying to break into her apartment.
"As officers arrived, they made contact with two men leaving the area.
When officers directed the ex-boyfriend, 20-year-old Erick Reyes to sit down, he reportedly complied with their orders.
Batista said 33-year-old Robert Johnson was heading to the elevator and officers asked him to sit down as well.
Johnson reportedly did not comply with their orders, and as they approached him to seat him, he resisted. Officers then struck him several times to get him to comply.
According to Batista, four officers were involved. Of them, he says three officers were involved in hitting Johnson, while the sergeant was the lone officer who did not.
Batista said he was notified of the incident a week after by a community member, at which point he initiated an investigation into the case.
Following the May 23 incident, Johnson was charged with disorderly conduct and hindering. Reyes was charged with disorderly conduct-domestic violence and paraphernalia.
"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."
Johnson's pastor, Andre Miller, and his attorney Benjamin Taylor released the following statement in his defense:
"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."
As of now the four officers involved are on administrative leave and the story is still developing.
Although this looks cut and dry, we all know these kinds of cases can get really slick and slippery fast!