PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- Phoenix Police officials said Wednesday that prosecutors have filed a direct complaint against an officer who was seen striking a handcuffed shoplifting suspect late in 2018.
FOX 10 first reported on the story in April. The incident happened at a store along the 5300 block of W. Indian School Road on December 8, 2018, but Phoenix Police officials were notified of the incident by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in February 2019.
According to Phoenix Police officials in April, a 22-year-old shoplifting suspect was fighting with the officer, who was working off-duty at the time. Video provided to Phoenix Police show the officer striking the 22-year-old.
The officer, according to Phoenix Police officials, delivered two to three knee strikes and four to five closed fist strikes against the suspect. However, subsequent transfer of electronic information omitted dashes from booking paperwork concerning the suspect's arrest, resulting in court records showing 23 knee strikes and 45 closed fist strikes being delivered.
On Wednesday, Phoenix Police identified the officer involved as Tim Baiardi, and said the direct complaint that has been filed indicates the MCAO is moving forward with prosecution.
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams also released a statement on the incident.
“When I became aware of this incident I was shocked and appalled at the conduct of one of my officers. I immediately ordered a criminal investigation. In addition, the officer involved was placed on administrative leave and assigned to his home. I am not at liberty to discuss or answer questions about the specifics of the investigation. The criminal investigation was submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office requesting criminal prosecution and we received word today that they have filed a direct complaint to the court to move forward with prosecution. With this information, the Phoenix Police Department is now able to move forward with our internal investigation as well.
This type of activity will not be tolerated by me or the Phoenix Police Department and it will be dealt with accordingly. This adversely impacts our reputation, which we work diligently to uphold every day. Let me assure you that the actions of one officer are not indicative of the hardworking men and women who wear the Phoenix Police Department badge. We will continue to work to build and maintain a relationship of trust and accountability with our community.”