MESA, Ariz. (KSAZ)
A Mesa man is accusing Mesa Police of excessive force. He was stopped on his bicycle Wednesday because he allegedly matched the description of a suspect and because he didn't have a bike light. Officers detained him, but within moments they had to take him to the ground, he claims the officers beat him up for no reason.
Arthur Velasquez was on his way to work; it was his first day on the job at Banner Desert Medical Center. He ended up back at the hospital, not for work, but as a patient. He suffered a concussion at the hands of officers for what he says was only taking out his cell phone.
Mesa Police released the officers body camera footage, to show what happened from their perspective.
On the camera footage, you see Velasquez on his way to work. He's stopped by two Mesa Police officers; he says he doesn't know why, so he takes out his cell phone and things take a violent turn when he refuses to comply.
Officer: "Can you put your phone away?"
Velasquez: "I'm calling my sister, her name is Nessa."
Officer: Put it down, before I knock it out of your freaking hand."
It's hard to see what happened next, but Velasquez claims the officers punched him in the face three times. He suffered a concussion and had to get five stitches. He also believes his phone call and his sister listening in saved him from further injuries.
"When I yelled out they were using brutal force against me is when they stopped hitting me, and then the officer got up and hung up the phone," said Velasquez.
Mesa Police say that Velasquez resisted arrest, it's a claim he denies. Police so far have not charged him with assault. Instead they cited him for not having a light on his bicycle. Both officers involved are still on the job, and officials say they had every right to take his phone away.
"Once you are detained by the officer you do not have the right to leave, you do not have the right to take your phone out and start making all those calls, because we don't know who you are calling to the scene that could potentially be a threat," said Det. Steve Berry.
So what does Velasquez want to say to officers?
"I want them to know they don't deserve to wear a badge, and they are going to be causing problems, and no reasonable rights to do it. They don't need a badge," said Velasquez.
Mesa Police are investigating the police brutality claim, and Velasquez says he is looking into legal action. He wants the officers suspended and wants the department to pay for his $900 hospital bill.