2 Phoenix officers accused of excessive force won’t face criminal charges
Jan 30, 2023, 12:02 PM
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)
PHOENIX — No criminal charges will be filed against two Phoenix officers accused of using excessive force during an arrest captured on video at a convenience store last year, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
The Phoenix Police Department previously recommended criminal charges against Officers Eddie Becerra and Nicholas Beck over the Oct. 27 arrest of Harry Denman.
Prosecutors agreed regarding Becerra’s actions and sought a grand jury indictment. However, the grand jury declined to charge him after prosecutors presented evidence last week, MCAO said in a press release Monday.
“The presentation included body-worn camera footage, surveillance video provided by the convenience store and a video recorded by a bystander,” the release said. “The grand jury declined to issue an indictment.”
MCAO also said it didn’t seek an indictment against Beck because it determined “there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction.”
“Beck’s conduct occurred prior to Denman being secured with handcuffs and prior to the location of the weapon being determined,” prosecutors said in their disposition note for Beck’s case.
MCAO sought and was granted permission from a judge to unseal the grand jury findings.
Interim Police Chief Michael Sullivan said he placed the officers on administrative leave and started investigating the incident after the department became aware of it.
In December, Sullivan’s department submitted recommendations to MCSO of two counts of aggravated assault and one of misdemeanor assault against Becerra and one count each of aggravated assault and misdemeanor assault for Beck.
Denman, 38, was being detained after he allegedly shot at a patrol vehicle occupied by the two officers outside the QuikTrip at 59th Avenue and Buckeye Road.
The incident started when Denman approached the uniformed officers after they left the store and they told him they had to leave for a call. When they were backing out in their patrol vehicle, Denman allegedly pulled a handgun from his waistband and fired once at the ground and once at the SUV.
According to the probable cause statement police filed for Denman’s arrest, the bullet went through a mounted spotlight and hit the side of the vehicle.
Denman then went into the store, and the officers followed and took him into custody after an altercation that left the suspect bloodied.
Bystander video posted to Facebook (WARNING: graphic content) begins with Denman on his knees and starting to lie down face first. As he’s moving downward with his hands in view, both officers appear to stomp on the back of his head, driving his face into the ground, before cuffing Denman’s hands behind his back. One of the officers kicks him in the back when he rolls onto one side while cuffed.
During the altercation, the officers could be heard asking Denman where the gun was.
The video ends after the officers get Denman onto his feet and walk him out of frame, leaving behind his glasses and hat and splashes of blood on the tile floor.
After the incident, a store clerk told police that Denman put the gun on a counter after he came inside, according to the probable cause statement.
Denman was booked into Maricopa County Jail on multiple counts, including aggravated assault of an officer and resisting arrest.