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

The Mesa, Arizona, Police Department, ...

Posted: Jun 15, 2018 11:12 AM
Updated: Jun 15, 2018 11:12 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 150664

Reported Deaths: 4008
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion24697784
Lake13220352
St. Joseph8877159
Elkhart8469132
Allen7880222
Hamilton5962113
Vanderburgh559360
Tippecanoe354714
Monroe320738
Hendricks3183130
Johnson2995128
Porter297848
Clark285461
Delaware282074
Vigo252637
Madison229593
Cass222021
LaPorte215557
Warrick188464
Kosciusko176823
Floyd174867
Howard158866
Bartholomew139758
Dubois135125
Marshall132526
Henry122628
Grant120939
Wayne119327
Boone118848
Hancock114145
Noble113533
Jackson108713
Morgan92240
Dearborn91628
Daviess84033
Gibson83411
Clinton81616
Shelby79429
Lawrence78534
LaGrange76715
Harrison74024
Putnam71016
Knox70310
DeKalb69411
Posey6796
Steuben6008
Fayette58517
Miami5845
Montgomery57222
White56815
Jasper5624
Greene51837
Scott50813
Decatur49839
Adams4725
Clay4346
Whitley4316
Sullivan42812
Ripley4228
Wells4155
Starke3937
Wabash3919
Orange38725
Huntington3785
Spencer3706
Franklin36525
Jennings36013
Washington3592
Randolph3398
Fulton3362
Jefferson3305
Pike31913
Carroll31413
Perry29514
Jay2876
Fountain2863
Tipton26823
Parke2203
Newton21811
Vermillion2181
Rush2044
Owen2021
Martin1950
Blackford1923
Crawford1491
Pulaski1471
Brown1303
Ohio1227
Benton1070
Union1040
Switzerland890
Warren751
Unassigned0233

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 185639

Reported Deaths: 5083
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin30978635
Cuyahoga19436675
Hamilton16234338
Montgomery10083186
Lucas8175370
Butler8028123
Summit6555261
Warren406360
Stark3696178
Mahoning3635283
Marion335149
Pickaway296946
Delaware281127
Lorain266689
Fairfield257856
Licking248865
Wood244681
Clark242454
Clermont234937
Trumbull2221134
Greene219640
Columbiana210187
Allen203873
Miami195656
Lake188357
Medina180242
Portage156167
Mercer147128
Ross133833
Wayne131568
Richland128624
Tuscarawas123622
Athens11742
Erie113853
Darke110151
Madison103514
Hancock103023
Auglaize95116
Putnam91527
Lawrence90725
Shelby86814
Muskingum8434
Geauga83650
Scioto8059
Belmont78427
Union7343
Ashtabula72148
Huron69910
Sandusky69422
Preble59517
Seneca58514
Holmes57010
Ottawa56830
Fulton5056
Jefferson4564
Henry45317
Defiance44413
Jackson4417
Clinton43613
Fayette4328
Crawford4308
Highland4024
Logan4023
Champaign3873
Ashland3735
Brown3683
Knox36215
Perry35411
Washington33323
Morrow3312
Hardin32113
Williams3194
Coshocton29812
Pike2880
Guernsey2878
Wyandot28413
Gallia27913
Van Wert2333
Meigs21012
Adams2036
Carroll1917
Paulding1901
Hocking1899
Monroe15218
Noble1210
Vinton903
Harrison793
Morgan740
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 54°
Angola
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 50°
Huntington
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Decatur
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 54°
Van Wert
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 54°
Warmer Thursday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events