Public meeting held in Mesa in light of no confidence vote against police chief

MESA, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- Earlier in June, Mesa Police chief Ramon Batista received a vote of no confidence in a police union poll. On Friday, a public meeting was held in Mesa to discuss the chief and his future.

The Mesa Police Association and Fraternal Order of Police held the discussion, which began at 6:00 p.m. Friday. They wanted to hear from the community on the chief they call "emotional" and "unfit to lead".

"Things were going really well and literally they turned in a heartbeat, and those two incidents, the Robert Johnson case specifically, was the catalyst for where we're at today," said Nate Gafvert, President of the Mesa Police Association.

Gafvert said when Chief Batista publicly condemned officers after video of an incident involving Robert Johnson came out, things changed. In the video, five officers were seen beating Johnson, who was unarmed.

"Do you think even the biggest supporters will think those actions are justified? Do you think they'll have questions about this and how it was handled?" asked FOX 10's Justin Lum.

"They should have questions about it, and they should be OK with voicing their questions and voicing their opinions. It's violence. It looks bad. When someone does not put themselves in handcuffs willingly or peacefully, then it's resulting in force. Some kind of force is going to be used."

Gafvert said Batista reacted too quickly, without allowing the officers due process. Those officers never faced criminal charges, and Gafvert claims morale has never been lower at the Mesa Police Department, and that it shows in a survey taken by nearly 600 employees, with 95% of them saying they had no confidence in the chief.

A spokesperson with Mesa Police said chief Batista will not be at the meeting, and didn't receive an invite in the first place. Union officials said, however, they did send one.