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Judge dismisses criminal case against Mesa ex-officer

Nathan Chisler shot unarmed man, judge said case lacked evidence
Posted at 12:58 PM, Dec 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-12 14:58:32-05

MESA, AZ — A judge dismissed the criminal case against a former Mesa police officer who shot an unarmed man in the buttocks during an arrest last year.

Nathan Chisler was fired from the Mesa Police Department and charged with aggravated assault this summer in connection with the December 2019 shooting.

After Chisler's preliminary hearing Friday, a Maricopa County judge decided there was not enough evidence to go to trial. She dismissed the case against the former lawman for lack of probable cause.

Police body-worn camera video showed officers scuffled with Randy Sewell outside the Ojos Locos Sports Cantina when they tried to arrest him.

Sewell, who was unarmed, had been tasered, and he was holding onto a utility pole.

Chisler approached from behind and fired his gun. In police reports, the former officer said Sewell appeared to reach for his waistband.

Officers initially approached Sewell and his friends to add their names to a trespass log because the cantina did not want them to return. The situation escalated after Sewell claimed he was not required to give his name if he was not suspected of a crime.

Sewell was hospitalized for the gunshot wound and was charged with resisting arrest and aggravated assault on an officer.

His case is still pending.

The Mesa Police Association (MPA) issued a statement saying the judge's decision was "predictable and appropriate."

"We believed from the onset that due process was circumvented," the MPA statement said. "We hope that going forward, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will respect due process – particularly one that is free from political influence."

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office did not comment on the judge's ruling.