- Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - Three Phoenix police officers are accused of using improper force during two different incidents earlier this year that were captured on surveillance video and a body-worn camera, department officials announced Friday.

They said two criminal investigations regarding the officers’ conduct have been completed recently and been forwarded to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review, but internal investigations still are ongoing.

The first incident occurred May 24 when two officers were called to remove a transient woman for trespassing on private property, said Sgt. Jonathan Howard, a police spokesman.

An altercation culminated with police deploying pepper spray, and that was captured by an officer’s body-worn camera. Howard said the woman turned around and walked away and that the officers left the area.

The second incident occurred Sept. 12 at the Metrocenter mall when Howard said officers were called to tend to a man who was acting strangely and asked him to leave the property. The man obliged, but he returned a half hour later and shattered glass at the mall with a large rock.



Video from surveillance cameras inside the mall showed two officers running toward the man, who then dropped to the pavement on his stomach to prepare for his arrest.

The first officer to reach the man is seen on the surveillance video jumping on the man’s back and punching the man’s body.

The names of the three police officers haven’t been released. They have been reassigned to non-enforcement positions during the criminal and internal investigations, Howard said.

In a statement, Police Chief Joe Yahner said he was “extremely disappointed” in the actions of the officers, and the department “will hold the officers accountable for their actions.”

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