When five police officers pummeled Robert Johnson in the hallway of the building where he lived, Johnson had not committed a crime. Although one officer wrote, “Johnson’s body language was projecting he was preparing for a physical altercation,” the victim had not made a single move in the direction of the officers. Another officer said Johnson “looked like” he was going to spit on him.
So five Mesa, Ariz., police officers just jumped on Johnson and beat him down.
After an extensive investigation that apparently did not include using their eyes, CNN reports that authorities have has determined all 5
gang members officers were just doing their jobs, explaining: “No criminal charges are warranted against the involved officers as the use of force was legally authorized and justified under Arizona State Law”
Mesa’s police chief Ramon Batista asked the Scottsdale, Ariz., police department to investigate the May 23 incident after surveillance footage of the
attempted lynching incident sparked outrage around the country.
The officers were responding to a call at the building involving Johnson’s friend when they encountered both men. Johnson’s friend was sitting while Johnson stood near the elevator in the apartment where he lived. The cops say they told Johnson to sit down and he responded by leaning against the wall.
That’s when the cops went ballistic.
The clip shows one officer repeatedly punching Johnson in the face as another grabs him by the neck and knees him in the body twice. One cop said he struck Johnson in the jaw to get him to comply. Another said he kneed Johnson because Johnson fought off a leg sweep.
Johnson was charged with disorderly conduct and hindering police before a judges dismissed the charges in June.
One could only assume that the Scottsdale and Mesa Police Departments both believe punching a suspect in the face is a justifiable way to get people to sit down. Local prosecutors apparently agree because the Maricopa County Attorneys office stands behind the findings of the Scottsdale investigation.
“The video flatly contradicts the self-serving accounts of the police officers involved,” said Benjamin Taylor, Johnson’s attorney. “The use of government violence against cooperating citizens, who have committed no crime and who pose no threat, is a crime without justification or legal authorization.”
Other hits by the Mesa Police Department include video of cops putting a boot on the neck of an already-handcuffed 15-year-old and officers mocking a man lying in his own blood after being repeatedly punched in the face by Mesa officers. (Or, as they call it in Arizona, the “sit down technique.”)
Maybe, instead of suing, someone should use these exact methods and to offer the men and women of the Mesa Police Departments several seats.