PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Phoenix police detectives have arrested a rookie police officer with the department for allegedly assaulting a man while he was handcuffed.
According to a social media post by the department, officer Conner Orth-Smith was arrested in connection to an incident that happened on July 16 in the area of 99th Avenue and McDowell Road. The 23-year-old probationary officer had been called to help security at a local hospital around 6:45 p.m. after a man refused to leave the property and had become physical with security personnel. Orth-Smith spoke to the man, who police said appeared intoxicated, and agreed to take him to a facility for help. After some time, Orth-Smith arrested the man for aggravated assault on a police officer. Police did not explain what the man did that led to his arrest.
Several days later, police say the Maricopa County Attorney's Office contacted the department about concerns seen in body-worn camera during the arrest. An internal review of the incident was already being conducted at the same time, police say. According to police, the department's review showed Orth-Smith physically assaulting the man while he was handcuffed, causing visible injuries. The department stated the officer's actions were unreasonable and were not proportional to the man's actions.
"The behavior captured on the body-worn camera in this instance is egregious, appalling, and will not be tolerated," said Police Chief Jeri Williams. "Our agency took decisive and immediate action. Acts like these leave a blemish on the badge and affect the noble profession of policing, making it more difficult for the men and women who police with integrity and honor."
Orth-Smith joined the department in May 2020 after graduating from the Phoenix Regional Police Academy. Orth-Smith was assigned to patrol the Maryvale-Estrella Mountain Precinct in November later that year. The department says Orth-Smith has now resigned.
A criminal investigation into the incident is ongoing, and an administrative investigation is being conducted to look at possible policy violations. Charges for aggravated assault are being recommended against Orth-Smith by the department. Phoenix police have not provided a photo of Orth-Smith, or the body-worn camera video related to the incident.