Prosecutors have charged a state trooper from the Department of Public Safety with aggravated assault and resisting arrest for an off-duty scuffle with a Chandler police officer.
In addition to the two felonies, prosecutors also charged 44-year-old John Michael Bugenig with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Bugenig has pleaded not guilty.
The April 25 incident was recorded on body camera footage. The case has not been publicly reported until now.
According to police reports and court documents, Chandler police responded to a home near Chandler Heights and McQueen roads after receiving a 911 call from the trooper’s ex-wife.
The ex-wife told dispatchers Bugenig was drunk, had been verbally abusive, and had taken her cell phone.
Body camera video shows a Chandler police officer speaking with the ex-wife in a parked car. A few minutes later, Bugenig appears in the frame. He tosses the woman’s cell phone into her car through an open window and tries to walk away.
“Hey! No -- we're not going to do that,” says the officer, following Bugenig.
“F*** off,” Bugenig says.
“What?” replies the officer.
“F*** off,” Bugenig says again.
When the officer tries to grab Bugenig’s arm, he swings it away. When the officer tries a second time, video shows Bugenig push the officer with one hand.
The back-and-forth between the men continues for several more seconds. Twice, the officer shouts that Bugenig is resisting arrest. After a struggle, the officer takes Bugenig to the ground and puts him in handcuffs.
The scuffle left Bugenig with a cut on the right side of his face. The officer got minor scratches on his knees while making the arrest, according to court documents.
When reached by phone and asked for comment, Bugenig said, “I think it’ll play out in the court system. I don’t have any comment.”
Bugenig has been with the Department of Public Safety for eight years, documents show. The department placed him on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal case and an internal investigation.
DPS spokesman Bart Graves declined to comment on the case.
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