From [HERE] Lawyers for a black man shown on video being beaten by five Mesa police officers last year have filed a federal lawsuit against the city and three of the policemen.
Attorneys for Robert Johnson said Tuesday they are seeking a jury trial for their client and at least $2 million in compensation for the May 2018 incident.
The lawsuit filed last Friday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix alleges excessive force, wrongful arrest, negligence, assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
A Mesa spokesman said city officials would not comment on pending litigation.
The apartment complex video shows the police officers repeatedly punching the unarmed Johnson as he stood against a wall after he failed to follow their instructions to sit down.
A police report states Johnson was verbally defiant and confrontational, but his attorneys say there was no reason for officers to hit him and the video shows a different story.
Johnson, 35, had accompanied a friend who was picking up his belongings from his ex-girlfriend's apartment. Someone called 911 and alleged Johnson's friend had tried to force his way into the apartment and police confronted the men outside an elevator at the complex.
When police arrived on the scene, Reyes and another man, 33-year-old Robert Johnson were leaving the complex. When police told Reyes to sit down on the ground, he reportedly complied with their order. Johnson was given the same order as he walked to the elevator.
Instead of sitting on the ground, Johnson, likely knowing he had done nothing wrong, simply sat against the wall. Apparently, this was not enough to appease the officers beca use he was not moving fast enough. The cops then swarmed the unarmed and seemingly innocent man.
Cops are then seen on video brutally punching the non-violent man in the face and kneeing him in the stomach. Even after he’s knocked unconscious, the massive cop in front of him pummels his face as he falls to the ground.
Officer Jhonte Jones said in his report he kneed and punched Johnson because Johnson leaned against a wall and extended his feet instead of sitting on the floor as police had ordered.
"Johnson's body language was projecting he was preparing for a physical altercation," the police report said. "Johnson's shoulders were bowed forward slightly and head slightly nodded.
"That was a position I recognized from past physical confrontations where a person ops (sic) to look toward the floor in order to use their peripheral vision to track several opponents simultaneously. Johnson's breathing became shallower and intentional, suggesting physiologically his body was transitioning to fight-or-flight mode."
Lawyers for Johnson said the beating left their client with serious injuries, emotional distress and medical expenses.
Last August, Scottsdale police and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office cleared the Mesa officers of any criminal wrongdoing following an investigation.
Johnson's attorneys filed a $1.97 million notice of claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — against Mesa last November. The city had 180 days to respond or settle the case.
"The Mesa police officers who assaulted Mr. Johnson were not prosecuted criminally, so we have to seek justice in a civil court," attorney Benjamin Taylor said Tuesday.