Mesa's top police officer addressed media in a press conference Friday to speak about recent incidents involving his department's officers and their use of force policy.
Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista spoke with passion about his department's policies, procedures and training amid the investigation into the May 17 arrest of a teenager on suspicion of armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
“This week the Mesa police department has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Over the last few days we’ve seen several videos showing situations involving our officers. They are disturbing and they will not be tolerated,” said Batista in his opening comments at the afternoon news conference.
Body camera videos in another recent case show Mesa officers punching a 33-year-old man during his May 23 arrest. Five officers were placed on leave in that incident.
“Let me be crystal clear, I’m angry and I’m deeply disappointed by what I saw in those videos. It’s unacceptable and it needs to stop immediately," Batista went on, "it’s essential that when this community interacts with our officers they are treated with the utmost professionalism, no matter the situation. Quite honestly that’s not what I saw in those videos… and that will change.”
Batista said the criminal investigation into the incidents would be conducted by the Scottsdale police department and an independent organization, the Washington D.C. based Police Executive Research Forum would investigate the Mesa Police Dept. use of force policy.
"These investigators will shine a glaring light on the areas where we have fallen short – and they will help us fix it,” said Batista. “From the bottom of my heart, I promise you we will fix this.”
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