Lawsuit: Mesa officers unlawfully arrested, shot unarmed man in the butt

Posted at 10:27 PM, Dec 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-10 00:27:16-05

MESA, AZ — Mesa Police face a new excessive force lawsuit from a man who was unarmed when an officer shot him in the butt in December 2019.

Sewell, 46, was arrested in December 2019 after police responded to a call about unruly patrons at Ojos Locos Sports Cantina in Mesa.

That night, an officer asked Sewell to give his identification, so his name could be placed on a trespassing log. He refused. Sewell's attorneys argued he had a legal right not to identify himself because officers did not tell him he was being detained, arrested, or investigated for a crime.

A few minutes later, when Sewell tried to walk away from a different officer, the situation escalated. Officers hit, pepper-sprayed, and used a Taser on Sewell. Then-Officer Nathan Chisler walked up behind Sewell and shot him in the buttocks. Sewell was unarmed and was bent over holding onto a utility pole at the time of the shooting.

In the federal civil rights lawsuit filed December 2, Sewell alleges the officers had no grounds for arrest and unconstitutionally used potentially deadly force on an unarmed man. Sewell said the bullet shattered his femur resulting in hospitalization and months of recovery.

After the shooting, prosecutors filed felony charges against Sewell. He was put on trial for resisting arrest, but a jury acquitted him in August.

Chisler was fired from the Mesa Police Department and charged with aggravated assault against Sewell. The charge against the former officer was later dismissed.

Click here to read the full excessive force lawsuit.

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