Mesa drops charges against man seen beaten in arrest video

Jun 14, 2018, 2:52 PM

PHOENIX — Charges were dismissed against a man whose arrest in Mesa last month set off a flurry of police brutality accusations in the Phoenix suburb.

The Mesa court granted the city prosecutor’s motion to dismiss the case against Robert Johnson on Wednesday.

Johnson’s lawyer hopes the city doesn’t stop there.

“We expect the officers involved in the beating of my client to face disciplinary action and termination within the Mesa Police Department,” Benjamin Taylor said in a statement issued Thursday.

The case was the first of four incidents that came to light this month in which Mesa police allegedly used excessive force.

Johnson, 33, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and hindering prosecution after police responded to a domestic disturbance call at an apartment complex.

Video of the May 23 incident came out last week and showed Johnson talking on his phone in a corridor while police told him to sit down. Several officers moved in on Johnson and started punching him repeatedly. It’s not clear what instigated the beating.

Five officers — Jhonte Jones, Rudy Monarrez, Ernesto Calderon, Robert Gambee and William Abbiatt — were placed on paid administrative leave after the video circulated.

“The prosecutor’s office must not be afraid to pursue criminal charges for the officers involved in the assault on Mr. Johnson,” Taylor said.

Within a week of that incident going public, three other videos documenting alleged police brutality in Mesa came out, two more officers were placed on leave, and the police chief announced two investigations into his department’s behavior.

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Mesa drops charges against man seen beaten in arrest video