2 Mesa officers on leave after incident with 15-year-old robbery suspect
PHOENIX — More officers with the Mesa Police Department have been placed on paid leave following an incident involving a 15-year-old who was arrested and charged with multiple charges, including robbery and aggravated assault.
Detective Nik Rasheta said Thursday that two officers were placed on administrative leave following a review of body-worn camera footage and an internal investigation of the May 16 incident.
The incident, according to police documents, involved a 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl.
It stemmed from a Circle K convenience store near Country Club Drive and McLellan Road, when cops were called after the 15-year-old allegedly pointed a sawed-off .22 caliber rifle at the store and at least one patron. He also allegedly smashed in a car windshield, according to police documents.
Officers detained the two suspects in front of a residence approximately a half-mile from the Circle K without incident. The rifle and a backpack were found on a patio.
Court documents said the boy told police that blood on his hands and shirt was from “officers slamming his face on the ground” but that he did not have any injuries.
They were charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery with a deadly weapon, theft of a means of transportation and aggravated robbery.
Body camera footage from the incident showed the 15-year-old resisting and using graphic language as officers were detaining him.
At one point, the boy could be heard screaming as an officer puts pressure on his head and neck while asking where the gun is.
The two officers who were placed on leave were not identified.
The announcement came shortly after five additional officers were placed on leave after video surfaced of them repeatedly punching an unarmed man who had been talking on his cellphone.
The officers were later identified as Jhonte Jones, Rudy Monarrez, Ernesto Calderon, Robert Gambee and William Abbiatti.
Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista will address the public Friday “on the details of this use of force investigation and will also address his plans regarding the department’s policies, procedures and training moving forward. ”
NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the incident occurred May 17.