Attorney demands action vs. police seen on video hitting man

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Andre Miller, upper right, and Benjamin Taylor, lower right, are coming to the defense of Robert Johnson, left. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5/Mesa PD) Andre Miller, upper right, and Benjamin Taylor, lower right, are coming to the defense of Robert Johnson, left. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5/Mesa PD)
Attorney Benjamin Taylor says his client, Robert Johnson, was not a threat and had already been searched when police started punching him. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Attorney Benjamin Taylor says his client, Robert Johnson, was not a threat and had already been searched when police started punching him. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Miller said Johnson had a job interview the day after the beating but missed it because he was in jail charged with disorderly conduct and hindering. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Miller said Johnson had a job interview the day after the beating but missed it because he was in jail charged with disorderly conduct and hindering. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

An attorney for an Arizona man whose beating by police was caught on camera says the Mesa Police Department officers should be suspended and disciplined.

Three officers and one sergeant are on leave while the department investigates the May 23 incident in which three officers are seen punching the man, who does not appear to resist arrest. Other officers also were in the area. The video is from an apartment complex surveillance camera.

[RELATED: Mesa PD releases body cam video of police beating man]

Attorney Benjamin Taylor says his client, Robert Johnson, was not a threat and had already been searched when police started punching him.

Andre Miller, Robert Johnson's pastor and spokesman at New Beginnings Christian Church in Mesa, told Arizona's Family Johnson is expected to address media Thursday afternoon. 

He said Johnson is overwhelmed by the amount of attention the video is getting.

Miller has known Johnson for about six months. He said Johnson is 35, not 33 like the police are reporting.

He said Johnson lives in that apartment complex and was helping his friend get his stuff.

Johnson can be seen on his cell phone while police are trying to talk to him. Miller said Johnson was on the phone with his mom. 

"He is really distressed and that's just to put it mildly," said Miller. "He's not sleeping. If he sees a police car, his head is on a swivel. It's been a really traumatic event for him."

Miller added Johnson has some bruises.

"Those types of injuries, they heal, but the psychological stuff, that's far-reaching. He's still having back pains, neck pains, migraines and he's not sleeping so he's really messed up behind all of this," Miller said.

Miller added Johnson had a job interview the day after the beating but missed it because he was in jail charged with disorderly conduct and hindering. 

Mesa police say officers were responding to a call from a woman who said her ex-boyfriend was trying to break into her apartment. Police arrived and found the ex-boyfriend, Erick Reyes, 20, along with Johnson. Both were detained.

The video shows Johnson standing against a wall looking at his phone while Reyes is sitting on the ground. There is no audio. Officers can be seen approaching Johnson and then quickly punching him numerous times. They pull him to the ground and flip him over. Johnson never appears to threaten or resist the officers.

[ORIGINAL STORY: Mesa police sergeant, 3 officers on leave after beating video]

“He’s a good guy and he didn’t deserve to be beat up,” Taylor said. Taylor said he wants the charges of disorderly conduct and hindering prosecution to be dropped.

Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista said the incident was brought to his attention by a Mesa pastor, prompting him to launch an internal investigation and place three officers and a sergeant on leave. Batista has said he is issuing a directive that prohibits officers from hitting people in the face, head and neck unless there is active aggression against them.

The department has been criticized in the past few years for incidents involving use of force. A former officer who was fired for violating department policy was tried but acquitted on a murder charge in the 2016 fatal shooting of a Texas man who was unarmed and on the ground.

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