The Mesa Police Department in Arizona released disturbing body cam footage showing a group of Mesa officers brutally beating an unarmed man while he sat peacefully against a wall and cooperated with police.
The 20-minute video, taken from a surveillance camera, shows several police officers kicking and punching Robert Johnson. At one point, they slam his head into an elevator door. At one point in the video Johnson is heard saying: “It feel good putting your hands on me? While I’m subdued? How the f*** are you, huh? Huh?”
According to Vox, the incident took place on May 23 after officers responded to a 911 call from a local apartment complex. “They arrived to find Erick Reyes, who was suspected of trying to forcibly enter his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, and Robert Johnson. Officers ordered Reyes to sit and began speaking with him, but their interaction with Johnson, who was unarmed and talking on a cellphone, quickly escalated,” Vox reported.
Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista reportedly told reporters that he was releasing the video to the public to be as transparent as possible about the incident. Batista said he was not aware of the incident until the surveillance video was sent to the police department by a civilian.
“I don’t feel that our officers were at their best,” he told reporters Tuesday when releasing the video. “I don’t feel this situation needed to go the way that it went.”
Four of the officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave while the department conducts an investigation. On Wednesday, the department released additional body camera footage of the incident.
Warning: this video may contain graphic images and/or profane language.
The Mesa Police Association, which advocates on behalf of officers, didn’t agree with the footage being released so soon after the incident. “It is grossly inappropriate to release a portion of the video with no audio that does not include the full context of the encounter,” the union said in a statement on Tuesday. “Furthermore, we don’t understand why video is being released when an internal investigation has not been completed. It is important to understand that any use of force, when viewed, is difficult to watch and never looks ‘good.’”
Many in the community disagree, and claim that there have been several high-profile and violent incidents involving the Mesa Police Department in the past few years.
“Mesa has a culture of police brutality, and this affects all people that live in Mesa and travel through Mesa, and this culture needs to be cleaned up immediately,” Benjamin Taylor, Johnson’s attorney, told the Arizona Republic.
You can watch more body cam footage below:
At one point in the video officers are seen slamming his head and hold it against the elevator door as it opens, before moving back onto the balcony. Several minutes later, a white cloth is wrapped around Johnson’s face as he is lifted by his arms and legs and carried into the elevator.
Body cam video of Johnson in jail after the violent beating:
Although it appears that Johnson was cooperative and not resisting, police involved in the incident argue that “his body language was projecting that he was preparing to fight,” ABC 15 reports. Police allege that Johnson was “verbally defiant and confrontational,” in a report released by Mesa Police Department.
However, Johnson’s attorney, Benjamin Taylor, disagrees, stating that his client was not a threat and had already been searched. Johnson was charged with disorderly conduct and hindering prosecution.
The incident has CBS News. Johnson spoke to reporters, stating: “I’m a family man. I’m a God-fearing person,” Robert Johnson said. “I just want Mesa to be held accountable for what they’ve done and everything that happened at the time.”according to