Two more Arizona police officers were placed on administrative leave Thursday after a use of force incident involving a 15-year-old – bringing the number of officers on leave to six following two separate incidents.
Mesa police said the unidentified officers were placed on leave following an internal investigation stemming from an incident on May 17.
Officials said officers were investigating an armed robbery involving a 15-year-old suspect, who was arrested and charged with armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Police said they reviewed body camera footage before the officers were placed on leave. The footage wasn’t immediately made available.
Details of the incident were not immediately released.
This is the second time in a matter of days that Mesa police officers have come under fire for accusations of use of force by suspects.
Police launched an investigation earlier this week after surveillance video appeared to show several officers beating a 33-year-year-old man at a Mesa apartment complex May 23. Three officers and one sergeant have been removed from active duty and placed on administrative leave while the department investigates that case.
Robert Johnson, the man who was beat by officers in the May 13 incident, told reporters that he doesn’t want another incident like this to happen to anyone else.
“Many of you have seen the video of Mesa police…I don’t want this to happen to no one in this particular system…I’m a family man, I’m a God-fearing person, I just want Mesa to be accountable to what they have done,” Johnson said.
His attorney, Benjamin Taylor, said Thursday that Johnson suffered a concussion as a result of the beating.
“This is not a race issue…this is a culture issue, a police culture issue that has to change."
Pastor Andre Miller, who found out about the incident and brought the video to the Mesa police chief’s attention, said the chief’s been remorseful and is taking this seriously. He said this type of behavior is a police culture problem in Mesa.
“This is not a race issue…this is a culture issue, a police culture issue that has to change,” Miller said. “It could happen to any one of us when we have an encounter with the police.”
Police said Chief Ramon Batista discussed his vision for the culture he wants within the police department to include “communication, respect, and professionalism in every encounter inclusive of a review of policy, procedure and training.”
Mesa’s police chief will be giving out further information on these incidents during a press conference Friday afternoon.
At the press conference, Batista will also be giving a statement on the details of the use of force in the investigation and will address what his plans are on the department’s policies, procedures, and training moving forward.