FBI to investigate Mesa Police Department use-of-force incidents

Aug 29, 2018, 7:47 PM | Updated: 10:06 pm

PHOENIX — The FBI will investigate two incidents involving the use of force within the Mesa Police Department, police spokesman Esteban Flores said.

Video shows 33-year old Robert Johnson talking on his phone in a corridor as police approach and tell him to sit down against the wall. He did not follow instructions, instead leaning against the wall with his phone in his hand.

The officers began to punch him in the head repeatedly as several moved in to hold Johnson down.

He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and hindering prosecution during the May 23 domestic disturbance call at an apartment complex.

Charges were dropped on June 14.

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

Scottsdale police conducted an independent investigation, and Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista hired an outside attorney to investigate, according to the Associated Press.

It was determined “the use of force was legally authorized and justified” under state law, the Scottsdale police said to AP.

Now, the FBI will be investigating.

“We are glad that the FBI is stepping in to investigate the Robert Johnson case,” said Benjamin Taylor, the attorney for Johnson. “It was hard for Scottsdale to do an independent investigation on their fellow sister city.  We hope that the FBI will help clean up the Mesa Police department and give justice to Robert Johnson.”

In addition, the FBI will be looking into the use of force incident involving Gabriel Mark Ramirez, Jr., who was arrested near Country Club Drive and McLellan Road.

Police did not provide the probable cause or date of Ramirez’ arrest.

The FBI has also investigated the Mesa Police Department for the officer-involved shooting of Scott Farnsworth on Sept. 22, 2017 and Daniel Shaver on Jan. 18, 2016.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Police seek suspect in stabbing death of 33-year-old man in Phoenix

Police are seeking information leading to the arrest of a suspect in the stabbing death of a 33-year-old man in Phoenix late Monday.
1 day ago
(Apache Junction Police Department photo)...

Apache Junction police seek help finding homicide suspect

The Apache Junction Police Department is seeking information on a suspect after a homicide occurred on Monday, authorities said.
1 day ago
FILE - Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol...
Kevin Stone

Maricopa County attorney says court ruling didn’t resolve Arizona abortion law

Maricopa County’s top prosecutor said Tuesday that last week’s court ruling on abortion didn’t resolve the issue of what the law actually is in Arizona.
1 day ago
(Customs and Border Protection File Photo)...

Phoenix man accused of trying to ram into Border Patrol agent’s vehicle

A Phoenix man was arrested for allegedly trying to drive into a Border Patrol agent’s vehicle in southern Arizona last week, authorities said.
1 day ago
Dianne Gabriel Cola (Arizona Department of Public Safety Photo)...

Silver Alert issued for 80-year-old woman with dementia last seen in Peoria

A Silver Alert was issued Tuesday for an 80-year-old woman diagnosed with dementia from Peoria.
1 day ago
Follow @KTAR923...
Sponsored Content by Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.

Sponsored Articles

Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
FBI to investigate Mesa Police Department use-of-force incidents