Arizona Man Claims Police Brutality After Body Camera Captures Officer Pushing Him to Ground
Police declined to comment on the video.
— -- An Arizona man is accusing a local law enforcement agency of police brutality following his arrest, some of which was captured on police body cameras.
The incident happened on Aug. 14 around 6:30 p.m. local time when the man, 31-year-old Joshua Dombrowski, was riding his bike on the sidewalk along Main Street in Mesa, Arizona. According to the police report, an officer with the Mesa Police Department said Dombrowski “forced two pedestrians” to “move off the sidewalk” to make room for him. The officer said he yelled “stop” to Dombrowski, who halted, looked at the officer and then continued riding “at a higher rate of speed” while refusing to obey verbal commands, the police report states.
When the officer caught up with Dombrowski and told him to sit on the ground, the officer said the man dismounted his bike and instead proceeded to “advance on me,” according to the police report.
“As instructed and taught in training, I performed an impact push to the rider and he toppled backwards over his bicycle,” the officer states in the police report.
The officer said Dombrowski refused orders to put his hands behind his back and surrender, the police report states. Additional officers arrived on the scene to assist but they said the man continued to struggle with them. A Taser was deployed multiple times before officers were able to place Dombrowski in handcuffs, according to the police report.
Dombrowski, who police said continued to scream and “violently thrash around” after being put in handcuffs, was also placed in restraints to restrict his movement, according to the police report. He was arrested on charges of using physical force in resisting arrest, operating a bicycle emerging from an alley or driveway, and failing to obey a police officer, the police report states.
Dombrowski was transported to Desert Banner Hospital, where he was treated for a number of cuts, scrapes and bruises, the police report states. Police were informed by the hospital staff that the man tested positive for methamphetamines, cocaine, THC and alcohol, according to the police report.
Dombrowski hired attorney Anthony Ramirez, who is a former police officer. Ramirez told ABC News he was slightly skeptical when Dombrowski first shared his side of the story. But when he ordered the videos from the police body cameras and watched the footage, Ramirez said he believes the police report contradicts what is seen on the footage. Ramirez provided the video, which can be seen above, to ABC News.
The officer didn’t hit the record button on his body camera until after the initial encounter with Dombrowski. However, these devices store 30 seconds of silent video that has already happened before the record button is actually activated. The police body camera silently captured the moment the officer exits his patrol vehicle, walks up to Dombrowski, who is seen walking a bike on the sidewalk, and pushes the man to the ground.
“When I saw that, I was very concerned,” Ramirez told ABC News. “It’s our contention that the police officer knew what he was doing in not starting the video until about 25 seconds into his beating of my client.”
In another police body camera video obtained by Ramirez and provided to ABC News, an assisting officer is seen asking a witness to make a statement. The man tells the officer, “I don’t know what the guy did wrong.” The man later mentions police brutality issues but the officer cuts him off and quietly warns him, “I’m rolling,” and then asks him to write “whatever you saw.”
“Don’t make anything up,” the officer adds. “… Whatever you saw, just be as honest as you can possibly be and that’s all that I ask for.”
Ramirez said there is also the issue of excessive use of force. Dombrowski told his attorney he was riding his bike on the sidewalk when he noticed a police officer yelling in his direction, but he said he wasn’t sure he was being addressed personally because there were other people in the area. Dombrowski said he continued down the sidewalk and was walking his bike when the officer pulled up and pushed him down, according to Ramirez.
“Obviously, I have an issue of excessive force being used against my client for walking down the sidewalk,” Ramirez said. “My client was literally pushing his bike down the street, walking in a straight line, and this police officer comes over and shoves him down.”
Ramirez said his client was wearing a backpack at the time of the arrest, which made it difficult for officers to handcuff him. The attorney also argued that police thought his client was resisting arrest when he was actually reacting to the pain from the Taser.
Mesa Police Department spokesman Steven Berry declined to comment on the case due to “an ongoing internal investigation.”
Prior to hiring Ramirez, Dombrowski sent his own notice of claim to the city of Mesa in September in which he alleged he was "abused, pushed into the ground, aggressed and manhandled for no good reason."
"I was just trying to find my way back home," Dombrowski states in the notice of claim. "I believe I was treated like a danger or a threat that I wasn't being."
Ramirez said they are currently in the process of supplementing his notice of claim with an updated claim and sum certain amount.
Dombrowski has not been charged at this time, his attorney said.