Mesa Police: FBI to assess use of force incidents

MESA, Ariz. (KSAZ) -- Mesa Police officials say the FBI will be assessing two use of force incidents for possible civil rights violations.

According to a statement released Wednesday, Mesa Police was notified by the FBI late Tuesday afternoon that they will assess the use of force incidents involving Robert Johnson and Gabriel Mark Ramirez, Jr.

The incident involving Johnson, which happened in May, officers were called to the 700 block of W. Main for a supposed domestic disturbance incident. Officers were seen, on video, punching Johnson as he stood against an apartment complex wall. A police report says Johnson was "verbally defiant and confrontational," but his attorneys say there was no reason for officers to attack him.

On Monday, Scottsdale police officials say no criminal charges are warranted against Mesa Police officers, stating the use of force was "was legally authorized and justified" under state law.

Previously, Mesa Police officials say the FBI has notified them that they will review the officer involved shootings of Scott Farnsworth and Daniel Shaver. In the incident of Shaver, the officer involved, now former Mesa Police officer Philip Brailsford, was found not guilty of second degree murder and reckless manslaughter in late 2017.

Attorney Benjamin Taylor issued a statement, shortly after Mesa Police announced the FBI's involvement in the case.

"We are glad that the FBI is stepping in to investigate the Robert Johnson case," Taylor wrote. "It was hard for Scottsdale to do an independent investigation on their fellow sister city. We hope that the FBI will help clean up the Mesa Police department and give justice to Robert Johnson."