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Phoenix police officer who slapped handcuffed man fired

Posted at 7:18 PM, Aug 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-10 18:20:04-04

PHOENIX — A Phoenix police officer seen on video striking a handcuffed shoplifting suspect while off-duty has been fired, authorities said Friday.

The Phoenix Police Department said the termination of Officer Tim Baiardi became official Wednesday. He had been on leave while an investigation was conducted into the December altercation at a Walmart store.

Prosecutors charged Baiardi, 44, in May with aggravated assault after seeing video of the interaction between him and the suspect.

Baiardi later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to unsupervised probation.

WATCH: Store video shows Phoenix police officer slap handcuffed suspect

A call to his attorney, Robert Kavanagh, was not immediately returned Friday.

Roger Moran, 22, was detained at the Walmart on suspicion of removing tags from a pair of pants and putting them on.

Baiardi kneed and punched him as he resisted arrest, according to authorities and video surveillance.

Moran also tried to flee and grabbed Baiardi by his testicles, court documents said. Video footage shows Baiardi later slapping the man after he was handcuffed and seated on a bench inside the store.

Chief Jeri Williams previously said that type of officer conduct would not be tolerated.

Baiardi, a 17-year police veteran, is a former board member of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, the police union.

"Though no longer a member of the PLEA Board, Baiardi will be treated no differently than any other member," President Britt London said. "He is still entitled to representation should he choose to appeal his termination."

Baiardi was also among several Phoenix officers singled out in a database for offensive social media posts. His termination was not connected to those posts, police officials said.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 30.

Moran pleaded guilty to shoplifting and had other charges, including resisting arrest and aggravated assault on an officer, dismissed. He was sentenced in June to probation, according to online court records.