Mesa, Arizona, police video shows officers punch, mock suspect

The Mesa, Arizona, Police Department, ...

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 10:12 AM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 10:12 AM

The Mesa, Arizona, Police Department, already under scrutiny over allegations of excessive force, says it's reviewing another controversial arrest and video -- the latest showing an officer repeatedly punching an unarmed man who was later mocked by an officer as he lies on a hospital floor covered in blood.

The emergence of bodycam video from a January arrest comes after Mesa police released videos last week showing the arrest of a teenager, who at times screamed in pain while being searched.

The department was already reeling after surveillance footage emerged of officers punching and kneeing an unarmed man in a May 23 arrest. The charges against the man, Robert Johnson, were dropped on Thursday, CNN affiliate KNXV reported.

The latest video shows the January 28 arrest of Jose Conde, 23, who was in the passenger seat of a car that Conde's lawyer said was stopped for driving without headlights. Bret Royle, the lawyer, said he received the bodycam videos from prosecutors after he rejected a plea deal in connection with Conde's case.

In videos from several officers, it appears the traffic stop quickly escalated into a scuffle after Conde stepped out of the car. At least two other officers tried to subdue Conde. A police report said Conde resisted arrest and threw punches at an officer who found cocaine concealed in his sock.

In one part of the video, someone is heard saying "f--- you" before Officer Joseph Mis punches Conde, who appears to be handcuffed.

Conde screamed in pain and, at one point, told the officers, "I can't breathe."

"Quit fighting," one officer tells Conde.

An officer is heard telling Conde in the scuffle, "You picked the wrong people to fight, brother."

"I didn't fight you guys, dude," Conde responded. "You guys just started punching me."

'Bless his little heart'

Conde was taken to a hospital after suffering a cut to his ear when officers pushed him into a wall, according to the police report. Police said Conde tried to escape from the emergency room but an officer grabbed him and forced him against a wall.

In one video, a hospital worker walks with an officer over to Conde, who was bleeding from his head.

"Bless his little heart," the officer said.

Looking down on the bloody Conde, the officer said, "Awww."

"Man up," the officer added.

In a statement Thursday, Police Chief Ramon Batista said the department was reviewing the incident and "as more events come forward we will carefully review each incident as appropriate."

"Simply put, the tape released ... by media outlets does not tell the full story concerning this arrest," he said.

"With emotion running high on all sides, we know that despite our differences we are working towards the common goal ... to make the Mesa Police Department better than it has ever been."

'Laughed at me while I lay in a pool of my own blood'

At a news conference with Conde on Thursday, Royle said the bodycam videos showed the police reports were "at a minimum embellished, if not falsified." He said he was not planning a lawsuit against the department and wanted his client exonerated of the charges, including drug possession, resisting arrest, escape and aggravated assault.

"There are several officers within the Mesa Police Department that have demonstrated over the last couple of weeks their willingness to put themselves above the law rather than to protect and serve it," he said.

"In doing this they have disobeyed our trust. They violated the trust of the community. They violated the trust of fellow officers because when officers act like this it causes citizens to question the integrity of other good officers."

Royle said Conde was on probation for a DUI-related charge.

At the news conference, Conde read a statement that said he hoped his case brings "meaningful change" to the department.

"I was searched," he said. "I was thrown to the ground. I was heaved into a wall. I was (tasered). I was punched over and over by multiple cops. I was gouged in the eye and I was hit in the head with a massive police flashlight. After all of this, they laughed at me while I lay in a pool of my own blood barely conscious."

Police chief calls for investigation

Last week, the emergence of two earlier Mesa police videos prompted Batista to ask the Police Executive Research Forum "to conduct a comprehensive and fully independent investigation looking into our use of force events over the past three years, as well as our policies, procedure and training."

Batista also asked former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley to undertake a separate independent investigation of the department, he said.

One incident involved the arrest of a 15-year-old suspect on May 17 in response to a call of an armed robbery, according to police.

In bodycam video, an officer can be seen placing a foot behind the suspect's head while he is on the ground. The officer notes in the police report the boot was there to "keep him from getting up."

As police pull the suspect up and take him to a squad car, one officer is seen grabbing and holding the suspect by what the police report describes as a pressure point behind his ear.

The teenager is pushed against the squad car and repeatedly says, "I'm just trying to get home to my grandma." An officer again appears to hold the suspect by the pressure point near his ear while searching for a gun. The teenager begins screaming in apparent pain, continually denying he has a gun.

In the report, an officer said he "applied pressure to (the suspect's) mandibular angle pressure point below his left ear" to keep him from moving.

In the footage, officers pull the teenager's handcuffed arms behind his back and toward his head, and he appears to react in pain.

The suspect was arrested and booked on multiple charges, including armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Two officers were placed on administrative leave after footage of the boy's arrest was reviewed. An internal investigation is ongoing.

In a separate incident, on May 23, police said Johnson, 33, resisted arrest and did not comply with commands. But an attorney for Johnson said he did nothing to provoke the officers.

Surveillance footage showed officers punching and kneeing Johnson during the arrest.

Five officers have been placed on leave as a result of the case, according to the Mesa police.

Huntsville/Redstone
Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 49°
Muscle Shoals
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 47°
Huntsville/Madison
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 47°
Decatur
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 47°
Fort Payne
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 42°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 490220

Reported Deaths: 9744
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson704661342
Mobile35810721
Madison32203443
Tuscaloosa23961409
Montgomery22417489
Shelby21773211
Baldwin19635272
Lee14883147
Morgan13571248
Etowah13118312
Calhoun13090283
Marshall11212203
Houston10036257
Limestone9321133
Elmore9313179
Cullman8864177
St. Clair8771220
Lauderdale8570210
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7450162
Walker6492249
Jackson6466102
Autauga617285
Blount6072125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5229100
Dale4614106
Russell401431
Franklin397675
Covington3948105
Chilton383196
Escambia376670
Tallapoosa3559139
Clarke342749
Dallas3396140
Chambers3393103
Pike292771
Lawrence281284
Marion280793
Winston245665
Bibb243759
Marengo238554
Geneva238468
Pickens223554
Barbour209550
Hale208464
Fayette199356
Butler195165
Henry182341
Cherokee176338
Monroe165638
Randolph162740
Washington156233
Crenshaw143353
Clay143254
Macon140543
Cleburne136539
Lamar131632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120825
Bullock116534
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98231
Coosa86823
Greene86732
Choctaw54723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 768946

Reported Deaths: 11266
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby866001472
Davidson80790841
Knox45241571
Hamilton39979454
Rutherford37906375
Williamson25011202
Sumner21166312
Montgomery17207207
Out of TN1667091
Wilson16194209
Unassigned15662125
Sullivan14169273
Blount13929178
Bradley12734138
Washington12671231
Maury12141159
Sevier11889161
Putnam10537168
Madison10049226
Robertson8886118
Hamblen7958161
Anderson7893155
Greene7258144
Tipton6896101
Coffee6264114
Gibson6168140
Dickson6148103
Cumberland6072117
Carter5926152
McMinn586289
Roane581795
Bedford5756117
Loudon563164
Jefferson5580116
Lawrence554681
Warren529875
Monroe526389
Dyer5222101
Hawkins518793
Franklin470684
Fayette463771
Obion435794
Rhea411773
Lincoln410561
Cocke396192
Marshall388354
Cheatham385743
Campbell378158
Weakley377559
Giles371095
Henderson361173
Carroll346881
Hardeman337663
Macon335073
White333965
Hardin329762
Lauderdale309342
Henry298975
Marion290244
Wayne286430
Scott285042
Overton283757
Claiborne273666
McNairy265051
Haywood264359
Hickman262840
DeKalb261548
Smith253336
Grainger240746
Trousdale237922
Morgan228537
Fentress228344
Johnson215038
Chester200647
Bledsoe198210
Crockett196946
Unicoi179347
Cannon173628
Polk173621
Union168930
Lake167326
Grundy166330
Sequatchie153927
Decatur153137
Humphreys151321
Benton149939
Lewis145724
Meigs125421
Jackson124834
Stewart123124
Clay106230
Perry102527
Houston102330
Moore93616
Van Buren79120
Pickett74723
Hancock49312

Community Events