From [HERE] A Mesa judge has dropped all charges against Robert Johnson, the 35-year-old Mesa man whose case received national attention after video surfaced of police officers beating him during an incident in May.
Mesa city prosecutor John Belatti on June 13 filed the motion to dismiss the charges of disorderly conduct and hindering police without prejudice.
The motion said the charges should be dropped "in the interest of justice." Municipal Judge Elizabeth P. Arriola granted it Thursday.
"We are pleased to hear the false and drummed up charges against my client Mr. Johnson have been dropped," said Benjamin Taylor, a lawyer for Johnson.
Johnson's case received national attention after video showed officers kneeing and punching him multiple times before bringing him to the ground. The case brought additional scrutiny to the Mesa Police Department, which has faced backlash for its use of force in other high-profile episodes.
Mesa police Chief Ramon Batista has since called for multiple investigations into how his officers have used force not only in Johnson's case, but all instances in the past three years.
Five officers have been put on leave as the Scottsdale Police Department investigates if the Mesa officers used excessive force with Johnson. The case will be forwarded to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which will decide whether charges should be filed against any of them.
Johnson had accompanied his friend, 20-year-old Erick Reyes, to pick up belongings from the apartment of Reyes' ex girlfriend on May 23. Someone called 911, alleging that Reyes had tried to force his way into the Main Street apartment about a mile east of Country Club Drive.
Mesa police last week released video and audio of the encounter. It shows three officers approach Johnson, search his pockets and then ask him to sit on the floor against a wall. Reyes can be seen feet away, already seated.
Johnson asks why he needs to sit down and refuses, even after police repeatedly tell him to, the video shows.
Officers close in on Johnson. An officer identified in the police report as "J. Jones" knees Johnson twice in the stomach and punches him six times in the face, the video shows.
The police report details that another officer, identified as "R. Monarrez," punched Johnson in the face at least once. As Johnson was being hit, someone is heard saying, "Sit your ass down, motherf--ker."
One of the officers pulls Johnson's leg, dropping him to the floor. Someone is heard saying, "See what happens?"
Police handcuff Johnson and tie his feet together. As he lies on his stomach on the floor, Johnson tells the officers, "You didn't need to put all that force on me."
Officer R. Gambee, as named in the report, said as the officers escort Johnson into the elevator, it looked as if Johnson was about to spit on him. Gambee shoved Johnson's face into the corner of the elevator door and the door frame, according to the report.
One officer then wrapped a spit mask, or what appears to be a mesh-type cloth, around Johnson's face. Three officers picked him up by his feet and arms, carried him into the elevator and then into a patrol car, the video shows.
Mesa police have faced additional scrutiny from other use-of-force instances.[MORE]