Protest over use of physical force incident involving Mesa Police officers
MESA, Ariz. (KSAZ) - A video showing a use of physical force incident by Mesa Police in late May has sparked some outrage in that East Valley community.
It's a video that has been widely shared. On Tuesday, surveillance video showed Robert Johnson taking blows from officers. On Wednesday, Mesa Police released body camera footage of the incident.
Late Wednesday afternoon, activists showed up outside the police department, with many saying they've seen the police department cross the line before. Protestors said it didn't matter that this was a black cop and a black victim, and that race wasn't the reason for this happening, but rather, a culture of poor training.
"When it comes to rights and police officer's duty, it's to preserve and protect all, even the rights of the individual getting arrested," said Kiana Maria Sears. She says change needs to start at the top.
"When we look at who we're gonna hire to train police officers, who we're going to bring in with this diversity training, our culture has a problem. This isn't hte first incident that's happened," said Sears.
On Tuesday, Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista detailed how things will change, going forward.
"I've initiated even stronger protocols with respect to reporting, so I'm going to make sure that in any case that we hit someone in the head or the face, that a sergeant is called to the scene to investigate the event, and to then notify their chain of command through that process," said Chief Batista. He also said that face, head, and neck strikes will be banned, unless there is active aggression being exhibited by an individual toward the officer