PHOENIX — A Valley officer is facing criminal charges, accused of assaulting a homeless man trying to steal multiple pairs of pants from a Walmart store near 51st Avenue and Indian School Road.
Roger Moran, 22, was arrested December 8, 2018. His mugshot shows several cuts and bruises to his face.
Court documents list three instances where Moran is accused of resisting arrest, even trying to grab the arresting officer's testicles.
That officer, Tim Baiardi, is a 19-year veteran with the Phoenix Police Department and a member of the Phoenix Police Law Enforcement Association, the union which represents rank-and-file police officers.
Documents say Baiardi "delivered 23 knee strikes to [the suspect's] face."
The report, written by a different responding officer, added "[the suspect] attempted to escape again and the officer was able to deliver 45 closed fist strikes."
Moran still resisted arrest, according to the report, and officer Baiardi "struck [the suspect] about 23 more times with a closed fist."
Moran was then cuffed and taken to the store’s security office.
Sources showed ABC15 surveillance video captured inside that room, showing Baiardi walking the shoplifting suspect in, sitting him on a bench, then slapping him in the face.
The hit caused Moran to fall off the bench, and his eyes rolled to the back of his head.
Baiardi is now assigned to his home, according to the Phoenix Police Department.
Officials say they have launched an internal investigation, but wouldn't answer specific questions regarding Baiardi's actions.
When reached by ABC15 for comment, PLEA president Britt London said:
PLEA is aware of the allegations against our board member and, pending the outcome of the investigation, his duties as a member of PLEA’s Board of Trustees have been suspended. As is our practice, we will not comment on the specifics of the investigation. Throughout this process, PLEA will remain committed to its mission of promoting the positive role of the police profession and protecting the rights of its members. We would like to remind the public that police officers are entitled to due process and that they are entitled to the same presumption of innocence afforded to every citizen.
Walmart also sent a statement regarding the allegations, saying:
Customer and associate safety is a responsibility we take seriously. One of Walmart's core values is respect for the individual and we expect each associate and all third-party workers to act with respect for others and the law.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s office confirmed to ABC15 the Phoenix Police Department has forwarded the case, which recommends Baiardi be charged with aggravated assault -- a class six felony.
A spokesperson says the attorney's office is still in the process of making that decision.
ABC15 went to Baiardi's home to ask for comment on the investigation. Baiardi said he is "not allowed to make a statement.”
Editor's Note: Phoenix police on Friday, April 19 issued a media release stating that there was a paperwork error "during the transfer of electronic information" in this case. In the original booking documents, it was reportedly indicated that "the officer delivered '2-3 knee strikes' and '4-5 closed fist strikes'," but police say "the dash character was omitted from the court record and the information appears, and has subsequently been reported as '23 knee strikes' and '45 closed fist strikes.'" Phoenix police say their department "is researching this programming issue."