South Mountain woman claims Phoenix police officers beat her

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by Alicia E. Barrón

azfamily.com

Posted on March 25, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 26 at 3:24 PM

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix woman says she was beaten by Phoenix police officers.

Letha Colter’s story is one of several that have surfaced in the past week accusing officers from the Phoenix police department's South Mountain precinct of abuse.

Colter and her attorney filed a complaint with the Phoenix police department's Professional Standards Bureau on Thursday.  The complaint accuses several officers of beating her at an apartment complex approximately two weeks ago.  Colter’s daughter was being arrested at the time of the incident. 

Colter and her attorney, Bertrand Russell, say they want the officers identified and disciplined.

Colter does have a previous criminal record.

Officers from the South Mountain precinct say they take those complaints seriously and firmly deny the allegations.

Phoenix police officer Pat Ard has spent nearly 15 years working out of the South Mountain precinct.  Ard says “I don't understand where all of this came from and how it happened overnight.”

Ard says the precinct has always worked closely with Councilman Michael Johnson, who alleged last week that he was handcuffed and manhandled unnecessarily by police in the precinct.

Ard claims that if misconduct ever occurred, it would have been exposed a long time ago and not just in the last week. “It was always going on but nobody would say anything?  I don't understand that.  It doesn't make sense to me.” Ard said.

Although the FBI is looking into what happened the morning Councilman Johnson was arrested, no other investigations into the South Mountain precinct have been announced at this time.

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