Approximately 30 protesters gathered in front of the Mesa Police Department headquarters Friday night in response to allegations of excessive force used in two recent arrests. Black Lives Matter has organized the protest which included a march down Main Street.
The events seen this week are unacceptable for a police department with our grand stature. We are at a critical time in the organization. We have lost our way in this arena. You deserve our best! Press conference will be streaming live on Facebook at 1:00pm.
Chief Ramon Batista
— Mesa Police Dept. (@MesaPD) June 8, 2018
The protest followed a press conference by Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista in which he discussed two separate arrests caught on cameras.
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During the arrest of Robert Johnson at a Mesa apartment complex, officers are seen punching Johnson. One sergeant and four officers were placed on leave while the incident is investigated.
On Thursday video footage of an arrest that occurred on May 17 was made public. In that incident, police were called to investigate an armed robbery and arrested a 15-year-old suspect. An internal investigation of the teen’s arrest for multiple counts, including armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon was launched and two officers have been placed on administrative leave.
Mesa Mayor John Giles called the incidents “unsettling for this community.” He called the videos “alarming and deeply disturbing.”
Giles “applauded the immediate and decisive action taken by Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista.”