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Mesa police protest: Activists march over use-of-force investigations

7PM: Protest planned at Mesa police
Posted at 10:34 AM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-10 00:19:32-04

People gathered for a protest in front of the Mesa Police Department Friday night following the release this week of several videos showing excessive use of force.

Video from Air15 showed about a dozen people, some making signs, outside police headquarters just after 7 p.m., when the event was scheduled to start. Around 7:45, the group, numbering about 30 people, began its march down Main Street. 

Black Lives Matter announced on Facebook members and others would rally at police headquarters and march down Main Street. 

The protest comes days after video was released that showed Mesa police officers punching Robert Johnson at an apartment complex.

Four officers and a sergeant are on leave while the department investigates. Watch video of the incident in the video player above.

On Thursday night, another Mesa police incident was revealed. On May 17, police were called to investigate an armed robbery and found a 15-year-old suspect on scene. The teen was arrested and charged with multiple counts, including armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

After reviewing body camera footage, police have launched an internal investigation and placed two of the officers involved on administrative leave. You can watch part of the body camera video released in the player above. 

Just an hour before a press conference scheduled by the Mesa Police Department, MPD Police Chief Ramon Batista took to Twitter to call the recent events "unacceptable."

Batista at the Friday news conference said the incidents are "disturbing and will not be tolerated."

Mesa Mayor John Giles released the following statement on Friday afternoon:

The last few days have been unsettling for this community. The videos I reviewed were alarming and deeply disturbing. This is not the Mesa I know. I applaud the immediate and decisive action taken by Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista. Nothing is more sacred than human rights. I expect that the independent investigations launched today will result in better training and an understanding that every person our officers encounter is to be treated with respect.