Phoenix officers won’t face criminal charges after video captures them beating cuffed suspect

The October 2022 incident was caught on body-cam after the suspect shot at the Phoenix Police officers.
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 11:25 AM MST|Updated: Jan. 30, 2023 at 11:56 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office says a grand jury has chosen not to indict two officers that allegedly used excessive force in the arrest of a suspect who shot at them at a west Phoenix convenience store last October.

Arizona’s Family previously reported that Phoenix police placed two officers on leave after video showed them hitting and kicking a handcuffed suspect who fired gunshots at their patrol car on Oct. 27. According to police, the suspect, identified as 38-year-old Harry Denman, ran into the QuikTrip convenience store near 59th Avenue and Buckeye Road after firing the shots. Officers followed him with guns drawn, ordering him to get on the ground. Body-cam shows one officer hit Denman in the head with his gun. Another portion of the body cam shows one of the officers telling Denman, “I will blow your (expletive) head off, dude.”

Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Taylor said that while people are upset about the ruling, it’s impossible to fully discern what was said behind closed doors of the grand jury or what evidence was shown. “The grand jury is a secret proceeding. So when the prosecutor presents evidence to the grand jury, members of the public do not know what was present and what actually happened. They come back with a decision, and the decision today was not to indict the officers,” Taylor said. “So ultimately, this is a confusing decision, we have to respect the grand jury but it is a confusing decision when you see a man on the ground, who has given up, that’s still be hit over the head by the Phoenix Police Department.

Taylor said the man in the video can sue civilly, should he choose. “There’s always civil rights so you can always do a civil suit to get justice in a civil pat, so if you don’t get justice in the criminal arena, you can always file a civil suit against the City of Phoenix Police Department, against these officers,” Taylor said.

The video has been widely shared and criticized as excessive force. And when the video was released, Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan responded to the news from the county attorney on Monday with the following statement:

Last week, prosecutors presented the case to a Maricopa County Grand Jury with body-worn footage and convenience store surveillance video. The Grand Jury then declined to issue the indictment. “MCAO also reviewed the facts and evidence as it related to actions taken by Officer Nicholas Beck. The office determined there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction for his conduct and did not seek a grand jury indictment,” the department said via a news release.

(WARNING: STRONG LANGUAGE) Edited body-cam video released by Phoenix police shows two officers hitting and kicking the man in the head.