Complaint accuses Mesa police chief of not backing up officer during foot pursuit

by Jason Barry

MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista has been answering a lot of questions lately, about his department’s policy on the use of force.

A couple viral videos showing officers repeatedly punching suspects, put Mesa Police Department in the national spotlight.

Now, Chief Batista may have some more explaining to do.

An anonymous complaint was just sent to city leaders and the Mesa Police Association, alleging that Batista put a fellow officer at risk last week when they were out on patrol.

The complaint claims that Batista was riding in full uniform with another officer on Aug. 2, when they spotted a suspicious suspect wearing a coat.

The officer reportedly started a “foot pursuit,” but Batista remained “standing by the police car” and “left his partner without a back-up while chasing a criminal trespassing suspect.”

The complaint states that “not once did Chief Batista get on the radio and call for help or do anything to assist.”

Mark Spencer is a former police officer, who now works with the watchdog group Judicial Watch.

He said that if the complaint is accurate, Batista needs to be held accountable.

“Whether you’re a brand new officer, or 30-year police chief, you better be willing to go hands-on,” said Spencer. “If a chief isn’t willing to go hands-on, and puts another officer’s life at risk, that’s called unacceptable.”

Mesa Police Association president Sgt. Nate Gafvert released this statement:

“This is a delicate matter. As with any accusation of wrongdoing against a police officer, Chief Batista is awarded the same due process rights as any other citizen. The Mesa Police Association will reserve any judgment or statements until an investigation can be completed and all facts are presented.”

A Mesa official stated that the Mesa Police Association has not been a big supporter of Batista, and suggested the complaint may be politically motivated.

The Mesa city manager is investigating the complaint.

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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