Arizona Department of Corrections employees fired following excessive force investigation

Two state prison employees have been fired following an investigation into alleged excessive force at a Buckeye prison, FOX 10 has learned.

Video from Lewis Prison on July 21 shows Lieutenant Mark Hasz walking inmate Martin Peralta away from his cell. The other office seen is Associate Deputy Warden Shaun Holland.

Hasz pins Peralta up against the wall for about 20 seconds before throwing him to the ground. Peralta is held on the ground before being walked out a door.

Arizona Department of Corrections Director David Shinn released a statement regarding the video of excessive force. It reads in part:

"I'm just going to say the behavior itself is typical of what goes on inside every prison unit on every prison complex throughout Arizona every day," said Joe Watson.

Watson works for American Friends Service Committee Arizona, an organization advocating for policy change in prisons statewide and opposing mass incarceration. Watson calls the behavior by prison employees a systemic issue but says the problems start at the top with the Director of Arizona's Department of Corrections, David Shinn.

"It requires a much deeper analysis from the director, the governor and those folks who support continuing to defund this mass incarceration that just continues to fail our communities."

Both Holland and Hasz are known whistleblowers.

Last December, Holland wrote to Governor Ducey, calling out officials for failing to get broken cell locks fixed.

When the pandemic began, Hasz also wrote to Ducey saying Director Shinn barred staff from wearing PPE, even refusing to supply it.

Holland filed a lawsuit against the state just days after the use of force in July, accusing the administration of leveraging the incident to open a "retaliatory investigation."

Hasz sued the state alleging the deputy warden told him he would be suspended, unpaid 80 hours and that Holland would be charged with a crime. 

Both men would be placed on administrative leave and assigned to their homes.

In September, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office charged Hasz with aggravated assault for what he did in the video.

In a statement from the spokesman of the Arizona Correctional Peace Officers Association, it reads in part:

Both employees in the video have been fired.

Hasz is not in MCSO custody right now. His status conference is on Nov. 30.

Holland does not face any charges at this time.

In both lawsuits filed on behalf of Hasz and Holland, their attorney told FOX 10 the state motioned to dismiss the cases but got denied.

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 10 Phoenix for updates.

Get breaking news alerts in the FREE FOX 10 News app. Download for Apple iOS or Android.