Author: Val Van Brocklin
By P1 Staff
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Phoenix police officers should not face criminal charges for a May altercation with a noncompliant man, an outside investigation team concluded Monday.
Footage of the encounter that sparked controversy shows officers from the Mesa Police Department punching Robert Johnson after he failed to obey orders.
The video, which garnered national attention, prompted Mesa department officials to ask members of the Scottsdale Police Department to independently review the footage.
Investigators determined that “the use of force was legally authorized and justified” under state law.
Officers were responding to a call about a break-in attempt when they encountered Johnson with the suspect on May 23. According to the Associated Press, Johnson told officers he was helping a neighbor get something from the apartment.
According to surveillance and body camera footage, an officer then asks Johnson several times to sit, which Johnson ignores.
When the officer repeats the request, Johnson leans against a wall and looks at his phone. Several officers begin to punch him.
A police report described Johnson as “verbally defiant and confrontational” during the encounter. He was charged with disorderly conduct and hindering prosecution. Mesa officials released the body cam footage in June; charges against Johnson were dropped on June 14.
According to a statement from the Mesa Police Department, five officers are still on leave while the situation is investigated internally.