An unarmed Black man was once again the target of police brutality when he didn’t heed a request from a police officer. This time Not sitting down when asked.
Four officers from the department in Mesa, Ariz., are on paid leave after the chief publicized surveillance footage of the incident.
This is hardly the Mesa Police Department’s first brush with excessive force complaints. But in other cases, it’s civilians who publicize the footage not the department itself.
The surveillance video has no audio, but separate bodycam footage was also released, some parts of which has audio.
Officers tell a man, identified as 33-year-old Robert Johnson, to sit down.
Have a seat, I ain’t gonna tell you again, have a seat,” an officer says.
Johnson’s demeanor does not appear menacing, and he makes no sudden movements. But he remains standing. A circle of cops surrounds Johnson, who is standing near a wall. He slowly begins leaning on the wall. He holds his phone up near his ear. As he lowers the phone, he begins to lean on the wall.
All the way down, all the way down,” a cop is heard saying.
Dude, they told you to sit your ass down,” an officer says.
That’s when the attack begins.
Police repeatedly punch Johnson in the face, grab his neck and curse at him.
Sit your a** down, mother***er.”
See what happens”
Officers cover Johnson’s face with a white cloth and them carry him into the elevator by his arms and legs.
Chief Ramon Batista said he chose to release the evidence to provide context for the situation.
The context” is all too familiar, though. A Black man targeted by police officers whose only weapon was a phone.
The Mesa Police Department has a history of violence, which no context” can justify.
In February the department slammed an 84-year-old woman down on the asphalt, rendering her unconscious. The woman, a grandmother who was recovering from her fourth stroke, was left bloodied and bruised. Officers told the woman’s family she slipped” and fell. Only through bodycam footage not officer accountability did the truth come out.
In 2016 an officer shot and killed Daniel Shaver, an unarmed 26-year-old who video footage shows was on his knees and pleading for his life. He was unarmed. Former Officer Philip Mitch” Brailsford said he thought Shaver was reaching for a gun. He was found not guilty by a jury. The footage was not released until after Brailsford was acquitted.