ARIZONA NEWS

2 Mesa officers disciplined for beating case; 2 others appeal rulings

Apr 25, 2019, 4:11 AM | Updated: 2:06 pm

PHOENIX – Two Mesa police officers involved in a use-of-force incident last year have been disciplined, and two others are appealing rulings against them, authorities said Tuesday.

The action was in response to the May 23 beating of an unarmed man in an apartment complex hallway, an incident that made headlines after disturbing surveillance camera footage and officer-worn body camera video was released.

Officer Rudy Monarrez received a written reprimand for violating the department’s code of conduct, and Lt. Timothy Wahlberg “sustained non-discipline corrective action,” Mesa Police Department spokeswoman Irene Mahoney told KTAR News 92.3 FM in an email.

The department did not respond to a request to provide further details about the discipline.

Mahoney said the department couldn’t comment on the other two officers while their grievances were active, and she didn’t know when the appeals would be completed.

Three other officers investigated were cleared of wrongdoing, Mahoney said.

The case was the first of four incidents that came to light last June in which Mesa officers were accused of using excessive force.

It occurred when officers responding to a domestic disturbance call at the El Rancho del Sol Apartments confronted Robert Johnson in a corridor.

They frisked him and did not find any weapons before directing him to sit down while he was talking on his cellphone.

After Johnson leaned against a wall, several officers converged and grabbed him. At least one of the officers can be see in the video punching Johnson in the face multiple times.

Johnson was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and hindering prosecution.

Within a week of that incident going public in early June, three other videos documenting alleged police brutality in Mesa came out.

The charges against Johnson were dropped June 14.

The Scottsdale Police Department investigated Johnson’s case and determined in August that “the use of force was legally authorized and justified” under state law.

The FBI also launched an investigation of several Mesa police incidents in August, including the one involving Johnson. No results from that probe have been reported.

In November, Johnson made claim of nearly $2 million against the city of Mesa and eight officers over damages caused by the beating.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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2 Mesa officers disciplined for beating case; 2 others appeal rulings