PHOENIX – Three Phoenix police officers have resigned after a man alleged they forced him to eat marijuana found in his vehicle to avoid going to jail, Chief Joseph Yahner said Thursday.
A fourth officer, Jeff Farrior, was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant for being aware of last week's incident and not taking appropriate action, Yahner told reporters.
"Their actions are appalling and unacceptable. This conduct is against everything that we stand for," Yahner said.
Police identified the three officers who quit as Richard G. Pina, Jason E. McFadden and Michael J. Carnicle.
Two of them are being investigated both criminally and by the department, Yahner said, adding that the third officer is considered a witness to the act and is the subject of just the administrative investigation.
Yahner said all of the officers' video cameras were turned off and did not record the incident in which a 19-year-old Phoenix man was stopped for a traffic violation around 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 13. The man, whose name was not released by police, was issued a citation and had his car towed.
He later told a patrol supervisor that the officers demanded he eat the marijuana, estimated to be about a gram, or go to jail.
The man reported feeling ill after ingesting the marijuana of an unknown potency, but didn't need any medical attention, a police spokesman said.
Yahner called the allegations about the officers' actions "disturbing and upsetting."
The three officers who quit were all in their first year with Phoenix police and were probationary employees, according to Yahner.
"I was going to fire them. They chose to resign," he said.
Yahner declined to discuss details of the criminal and internal investigations.