Two more Arizona cops placed on leave as video of another violent Mesa arrest surfaces
Two more police officers in Mesa, Ariz., have been placed on leave after video surfaced of a second recent violent arrest in the city.
The new bodycam footage obtained by ABC News shows a 15-year-old suspect being taken into custody on May 17 by officers as they hurled expletives at him. Officers seemed to kick and grab the neck of the teenager, who was charged with armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
"After a review of body worn camera footage, an internal investigation was initiated, two of the officers were placed on administrative leave," Mesa cops said in a statement.
Cops plan to release more details on the use of force investigation during a press conference on Friday night.
The Mesa Police Department had previously placed five officers on leave in connection with the arrest of 33-year-old Robert Johnson on May 23. Video shows Johnson being beaten by police while standing against a wall.
Watch footage of the May 23 incident:
Johnson said during a press conference on Thursday that he wants Mesa to be "held accountable" for what took place.
A police report states that Johnson was "verbally defiant and confrontational." However, Johnson's lawyers and his pastor say he was not a threat.
"This is a case where more words needed to be used, and less fists," lawyer Joel Robbins said. "Once (Johnson) had leaned back against the wall he was incapable of continuing any kind of fight because he's leaning against a wall."
Officers were responding to a call from a woman who said her ex-boyfriend was trying to break in. Police found the ex-boyfriend Erick Reyes along with Johnson, who says he was helping a neighbor get something from the apartment.
Video released by the police from officer-worn cameras show an officer approaching Johnson and Reyes. The officer asked Johnson, who was on his phone, to sit down several times but he didn't. The officer asks him again to sit, but Johnson instead leans against a wall while looking at his phone.
An officer then tells him, "Dude they told you to sit your ass down" before cops start to repeatedly punch him.
Johnson never appears to physically threaten or resist them.
"Johnson's body language was projecting he was preparing for a physical altercation," one of the officers wrote in the report. "It appeared Johnson was trying not to sit down in order to retain a position of physical advantage by remaining on his feet."
Officers Jhonte Jones, Rudy Monarrez, Ernesto Calderon, Robert Gambee and William Abbiatti were placed on leave.
Will Biascoechea, the president of the police union that represents two of the officers, said in a statement that the footage does not tell the complete story.
"To add some context to the video, it is important to understand that the Officers were responding to a 'domestic dispute' that included a subject attempting to force his way into an apartment as well as the report of the presence of a gun," Biascoechea wrote. "At this point, we urge caution and patience rather than a rush to judgment."
With News Wire Services