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Man claims excessive force in Mesa arrest

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-06 20:15:29-04

Mesa police say they've launched an internal investigation based on a videotaped scuffle involving a jaywalker, who now claims police brutality.

The video shows Jason Michael Barton, 35, struggling with two officers on June 19. One officer appears to cock his arm back like he's punching. A few seconds later, the other officer appears to knee Barton. The video came from a witness to the incident.

Rev. Jarrett Maupin, a civil rights activist, is planning a protest for 7 p.m. Thursday in front of the Mesa Police Department. He's calling the event "Justice for Jason."  

"The excessive forces officers used for this alleged jaywalking offense is shocking and disgusting," Maupin said.

"My thing is wait until all the facts are out, and let's not rush to judgement. There are two sides to the story," said John Goodie, one of several civil rights leaders called to police headquarters to talk Wednesday.

Wednesday afternoon Mesa police released additional video of the incident from police officer body cameras.  A police spokesman said officers had stepped up jaywalking enforcement due to recent car-pedestrian accidents. He said Barton did not obey one officer's commands.

"The suspect in this case does not move to that area, but makes a 180-degree turn of his body and begins to run away from the officer," Det. Steve Berry said. "Of course, the officer immediately gives chase."

Berry says Barton was eventually arrested for resisting an officer, marijuana possession, and other charges.  Mesa police also say the man had an active warrant for his arrest.