Phoenix police recommends criminal charges against 2 officers seen beating man in video

  • In US
  • 2022-12-08 03:18:20Z
  • By AZCentral | The Arizona Republic
A Phoenix police cruiser.
A Phoenix police cruiser.  

The Phoenix Police Department has recommended criminal charges against two officers seen in a cell phone video beating a man they arrested in late October at a convenience store.

Harry Denman, 39, of Phoenix, was taken into custody on suspicion of firing at the officers on the night of Oct. 27 at a QuikTrip near 59th Avenue and Buckeye Road.

A video police say was filmed on a cell phone by a store clerk was shared Oct. 29 on Facebook. The department on Nov. 10 shared the explicit two-minute and 28-second video. That same day, police released an edited video with some additional information about what officers say happened.

A Wednesday evening statement by Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan said a "complete and thorough investigation" on the incident had finalized with charges recommended to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

"Police officers must be held to a high standard of excellence and when we fall short, must be held accountable. I have confidence in the legal process and will allow it to play out in an unbiased manner," Sullivan's statement read.

The officers were identified by police as Eddie Becerra and Nicholas Beck.

Police on Wednesday did not disclose what specific charges against the officers were recommended to prosecutors.

The cell phone video shows Denman lowering himself onto the ground while an officer with a rifle aimed at him is seen kicking his head against the tiled floor. The video shows another officer immediately after stomping on Denman's head as he writhes on the ground.

The bodycam footage partially captures Denman's beating at a closer range.

Cell phone video shows the second officer poking Denman in the head with his handgun, while the other officer uses his rifle's front end to strike his head. The cell phone video also shows officers restraining the man's arms and handcuffing Denman with the officer with the rifle kicking him on the back.

Under review: Justice Department investigates Phoenix police practices, use of force

"I'll blow your f---ing head off, dude," the officer with the rifle is heard telling Denman on the cell phone video and in one of the bodycam videos.

"What is depicted in the video is not how we train and is not aligned with the core values of the Phoenix Police Department," Sullivan said in a statement shortly after the cell phone video was shared on social media.

Sullivan was sworn in as the department's new chief on Oct. 28, a day after Denman's arrest.

Police released surveillance video showing a man, identified as Denman, with a handgun firing a shot at the ground in the direction of the two officers' patrol car as it drives out of a parking space at the convenience store. Denman, the surveillance video shows, then fires again, a round, police say, was aimed in the direction of the officers in the car.

According to police, a bullet struck the car's driver-side spotlight and pierced through the driver's side at head level while another bullet hit the ground. Police also released a photo of damage from the bullet to the spotlight and the windshield pillar.

Surveillance footage showed Denman and the police officers apparently conversing before the officers got in their car. Police said the officers told Denman they were leaving to respond to a call.

The surveillance footage shows Denman fleeing into the store with officers, their weapons drawn, chasing him. The footage captures Denman near the cash registers as he raises his arms and kneels.

"Sorry. I was trying to shoot over you," Denman is heard saying in the bodycam footage.

Denman was hospitalized for his injuries before being jailed, according to police. Neither officer was injured, police said.

The police department said it learned about the incident the day after it happened and then launched an internal investigation.

Court documents reveal Denman is charged with multiple felonies: two counts of aggravated assault, discharging a firearm within city limits, discharging a firearm in a nonresidence, resisting arrest, risking physical injury, criminal damage, defacing and dangerous drug possession.

Denman was in possession of what was thought to be methamphetamine, according to charging documents.

One officer has been on the force for six years and the other has been on for less than a year, according to police.

The agency blurred their faces in the bodycam footage and in the cell phone video footage released to the public. Denman's face is also blurred in footage and cell phone video police released.

The officers remain on administrative leave, according to police.

The county attorney's office did not immediately respond to questions on the charges police recommended against the officers.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Phoenix police recommends charges against officers who beat man


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