Another officer on leave, use-of-force policy updated after Mesa police beating

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(Source: Mesa Police Department) (Source: Mesa Police Department)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Following the case where Mesa police punched Robert Johnson during an arrest on May 23, the department has updated its use-of-force policy. It was released just a few hours after Johnson spoke about the case with his attorney at a press conference.

The special order from Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista spells out specific levels of resistance and then says hitting someone in the face, head, or neck is specifically prohibited unless a suspect is showing active aggression towards officers. Any time an officer does end up hitting the face, head, or neck, the patrol supervisor has to send a report up the chain of command.

[RELATED: Mesa man punched by police on video speaks out about incident]

Representatives of the two police unions in town say the new policy goes against best practices and that their old policy was already in line with other departments across the valley. 

“Ultimately, we have to accept it. So we’ll do what the chief says, but we’ll be in negotiations with them to fix this," Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 9 President Will Biascoechea said.

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

At a press conference held hours before the new policy was released on Thursday, Johnson and his attorneys said what happened to him was the definition of police brutality.

"I don’t want this to happen to no one in particular in this system," Johnson said.

[RAW VIDEO: News conference held by man punched by police on camera

The department will still have a lot more to deal with as far as Johnson's case is concerned.

"We’re going to take every legal means possible in this case," attorney Ben Taylor said. "And you know what that means. Every legal means possible in this case.”

[WATCH: Surveillance video aligned with body cam video & sound of Mesa police hitting, punching man]

But Mesa Police Association President Nate Gafvert isn't worried about threat of a lawsuit.

"It’s not a surprise to us. It’s not a threat to us," he said. "Probably every single day – a couple dozen times per day in the city of Mesa – officers are told that they’re going to be sued.”

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

The Scottsdale Police Department is now handling the investigation into whether officers committed any crimes in the Johnson case.

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