Officer mocks drug suspect after violent arrest

An unarmed man who was repeatedly punched by a cop was mocked by another officer while on a hospital floor covered in blood, police body-cam videos show.

Jose Luis Conde, 23, was punched and elbowed by Mesa Police Officer Joseph Mis about four times as he and two other cops tried to subdue him after police said they found cocaine inside one of his socks, according to video and police reports provided to the Arizona Republic.

Conde was in the passenger seat of a car stopped for having its headlights off on Jan. 28 and was asked to step out of the vehicle. Conde – who records show was on probation after pleading guilty to a DUI-related charge and has prior arrests for drugs and weapons – consented to be searched by Officer Matthew Harris, who found something in Conde’s sock, causing him to tense up and turn toward the officer, Harris wrote in the report.

“His quick, aggressive and violent action was indicative of someone launching an assault,” according to the report. “I reacted to his body movement by grabbing a hold of his upper body, lifting him off the ground and taking him to the ground.”

Conde struggled to his feet and began punching Harris, according to his report. Harris then struck Conde’s face as he turned away, with Harris grabbing onto his body. Conde then “lost his footing as we made contact with a brick wall,” Harris wrote.

At some point during the traffic stop, someone can be heard on the footage saying “f—k you” just before Mis punched Conde, who is later told to “eat sh—t” as he shrieks in pain.

Conde was left with a cut behind his right ear after the arrest, prompting officers to take him to a hospital, where Conde tried to escape after getting his wound stitched, Officer William Roer wrote in a report.

“I observed Officer Clover push Jose [Conde] into the wall and then saw Jose fall head first through the set of double doors leading to another hallway,” the report said. “Officer Clover was able to grab Jose and forced him against a nearby wall. Jose continued to struggle and was trying to pull away from Officer Clover but in the process was grabbing at Officer Clover’s gear. During the midst of this, I observed that Jose had begun bleeding profusely from his head.”

In another clip of police body-cam footage obtained by the newspaper, a female hospital worker is seen leading an unidentified officer to Conde, telling the cop that he had just tried to leave the hospital while he was “bleeding all over,” she said.

“Aww,” the unidentified officer replied. “Bless his little heart.”

The cop approaches Conde as he’s lying on the floor and surrounded by several officers, with a large pool of blood near his head.

“Awww,” the officer says to Conde, mocking his injuries. “You gotta be a man, man. Man up.”

Bret Royle, the attorney who released the videos to the Arizona Republic, said the footage is another example of police brutality on behalf of the Mesa police.

“If I only play this in the secrecy of a courtroom, the only people who would see it would be myself, a judge, prosecutors and a jury,” Royle told the newspaper. “I’m not going to diminish the importance of them, but the public should have the opportunity to see what officers are doing behind closed doors.”

A police spokesman said the department had not received a complaint about the incident prior to a request for comment from the newspaper.

“Based on your inquiry, we are researching this incident,” police spokesman Nik Rasheta said.

Conde faces charges of narcotics possession, escape, resisting arrest and aggravated assault on police. He doesn’t plan on filing a lawsuit, Royle said, but hopes to see his criminal charges dropped based on how he was treated by police when he heads to trial in July.

“It’s really salt to the wounds because not only did you beat him up, but charged him with the injuries you sustained from beating him,” Royle said.

The incident is the latest use-of-force case to made headlines in Mesa, where the chief of police last week called for several probes into excessive force allegations, including one case where up to five cops kneed or punched a 35-year-old unarmed suspect who was “verbally defiant and confrontational,” according to a police report.

In all, seven Mesa police officers have been placed on administrative leave in connection to that incident and another on May 16, when two cops allegedly roughed up a teen arrested on suspicion of armed robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the Republic reports.

Source: Read Full Article