Charges against an Arizona man, whose case gained national attention after a video showing him being repeatedly punched and kneed by police officers went viral, have been dismissed.
A motion filed Wednesday by Mesa city prosecutor John Belatti — on behalf of Robert Johnson, 35, who had been charged with disorderly conduct and hindering police — asked that the charges be dropped without prejudice “in the interest of justice,” the Arizona Republic reported.
Municipal Judge Elizabeth P. Arriola approved the motion Thursday.
Benjamin Taylor, a lawyer for Johnson, called the charges “false and drummed up” and told the paper his client was “pleased” to see them dropped.
In video of the May 23 incident, officers from the Mesa Police Department can be heard telling Johnson — who was leaning against a wall — to sit “all the way down” before police swarm him and beat him until he drops to the floor.
While handcuffed with officers holding him down, Johnson can be heard swearing and asking police, “Did it feel good putting your hands on me while I’m subdued?”
Five of the officers have been placed on leave while another police department investigates the incident, according to the paper.
Mesa police Chief Ramon Batista has called for multiple investigations into incidents stemming from officers using excessive force over the past three years, the paper reported.
On Wednesday, the Republic also reported that a separate bodycam video shows Mesa police officers punching a man named Jose Luis Conde, and later telling him to “man up” as he lay in a pool of blood at a hospital.