PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A Phoenix police officer is now out of a job after he was seen on video punching and slapping a shoplifting suspect while off-duty at a Walmart store.
The Phoenix Police Department confirmed on Thursday Timothy Baiardi has been fired.
He had been with the department for 17 years and was on administrative leave for months.
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According to investigators, Baiardi was working security while off-duty at the Walmart at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road when he confronted 22-year-old Roger Moran on Dec. 8, 2018. Moran apparently took the tags off some new pants and put the pants on.
Court documents say Moran resisted arrest, tried to escape and even grabbed Baiardi's testicles.
Baiardi then struck Moran's face with his knee two to three times, according to the police report.
The two continued to scuffle, with Baiardi claiming Moran resisted arrest and reached for his testicles again, police said.
Baiardi punched Moran a few more times, police said.
Moran was taken into custody and put in the loss prevention office in the store where surveillance video shows Baiardi slapping him so hard Moran partially fell off the bench he was sitting on.
He was charged with aggravated assault in May. However, he agreed to a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to disorderly conduct.
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams previously said in a statement she was "shocked and appalled" by what happened and that "this type of activity will not be tolerated."
Activist group, Poder in Action, is surprised yet pleased with the Baiardi’s termination.
“We have seen so many cases, so many situations where officers have not been disciplined,” says director Viri Hernandez. “We need to make sure this person never sets foot in any other department in that capacity of power over our community ever again.”
Hernandez says the Phoenix Police Department must now take a closer look at the officer’s history to see if Baiardi’s actions have tainted previous investigations.
The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, which represents Phoenix Police officers, issued a response to Baiardi’s termination. The statement from President Britt London reads:
“Officer Baiardi was terminated after an internal investigation concluded he violated departmental policy. He is being held accountable for his actions.
Though no longer a member of the PLEA Board, Baiardi will be treated no differently than any other member. Thus, he is still entitled to representation should he choose to appeal his termination.”