A man seen on surveillance video being punched several times by Mesa police during a May arrest has now filed a $2 million notice of claim against the department.
A police report from the May 23 incident in Mesa states 33-year-old Robert Johnson, was "verbally defiant and confrontational." Mesa police released the report, along with footage from police-worn cameras, after a video was released by Johnson's attorneys raising criticism over the handling of the incident.
The Mesa City Prosecutor and the court agreed to drop the charges on Thursday, June 14.
Police originally claimed Johnson refused to listen to commands for him to sit on the ground while they investigated another person for possible domestic violence.
Johnson’s attorneys claim he listened to requests to lean against the wall and cooperated with a quick search while he stayed on the phone with a family member.
The claim states that officers gave Johnson no time to react to a request to sit fully on the ground before he was “grabbed, pushed, punched and kicked” multiple times by officers.
Johnson was eventually arrested, but his attorney’s say officers made false claims in order to have probable cause to file charges.
The notice of claim, which is an initial step toward a lawsuit against the city, states Johnson suffered physical, mental and emotional injuries during the arrest and seeks $1,974,000. The city has 180 days to respond. If the city does not respond, a potential lawsuit could then be filed.
The City of Mesa declined to comment, citing the potential for litigation.