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Phoenix officer enters not guilty plea after Walmart assault case

Posted at 11:39 AM, Jun 13, 2019

PHOENIX — A Phoenix Police officer had a not guilty plea entered in court Thursday.

Officer Tim Baiardi went before a judge for the first time after being charged with aggravated assault of a bound-restrained victim.

The charges stem from a December incident, when Baiardi was working his off-duty security job at a Valley Walmart store located near 51st Avenue and Indian School Road.

ABC15 first broke the story in April.Officer Baiardi was caught on surveillance cameras confronting 22-year-old Roger Moran as he was trying to steal pants from the store.

In the footage, Baiardi can be seen walking Moran into a back office, and slapping him with an open hand.

A probable cause statement says Baiardi, "slapped [Roger] Moran across the left side of his face with considerable force."

Court documents also say Baiardi denied striking the suspect when questioned by two supervisors and "provided no justification for the strike."

In an April 19 statement from the police department, officials said a criminal investigation into the incident had been launched. The department had also recommended to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office that Baiardi be charged with aggravated assault.

In court Thursday, Baiardi was granted a motion to travel out of the state and country.

The judge told the officer that he could not return the scene of the crime, or have any contact with the victim or witnesses.

Baiardi is due back in court on July 25 and July 27 for a status conference and preliminary hearing. His lawyer would not comment when asked if the officer planned to take a plea deal.

Baiardi has been with the Phoenix Police Department for more than a decade and most recently served as a member of the Phoenix Police Law Enforcement Association, the union which represents rank-and-file police officers.