Mesa Man Stopped For Jaywalking Accuses Police Of Assault

Published: Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 2:10pm
Updated: Thursday, July 6, 2017 - 10:49am
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(Photo by Jimmy Jenkins - KJZZ)
Jason Michael Barton (center) says Mesa police officers assaulted him after stopping him for jaywalking.

Jason Michael Barton said Mesa police officers assaulted him after stopping him for jaywalking last month.

Standing outside the Mesa police headquarters with his mother, Barton reflected on his encounters with police.

“This is not the first time, this is not the second time, it’s not the third time, it’s not the fourth time, it’s not the fifth time," he said.

In the latest incident, Barton is claiming he was assaulted by Mesa police on June 19. Police stopped him for jaywalking, but Barton said he was crossing Main Street at Extension Road on the flashing yellow hand.

The stop quickly turned physical. Body-camera footage from police and a cellphone video from a passerby show Barton was stopped by police and punched repeatedly after he was taken down to the ground.

Barton said he’s glad the incident was caught on tape "because that happens to a lot of us African-American women and black men over time.”

Mesa police say Barton tried to run, which justified the use of force.

“The force that they went after him with had nothing to do with jaywalking. It had to do with the fact that you have an individual who’s now running from a lawful detention,” said Mesa police detective Steve Berry.

Barton said continued harassment at the hands of the police has profoundly affected him. “It’s a way to make a person go from one of the most happiest people on this planet to trying to really create a new murderer,” Barton said. “And that’s what they’re doing.”

Speaking on behalf of Barton and his mother, the Rev. Jarrett Maupin called for the firing of the police officers involved in the arrest. Maupin said he will lead a protest Thursday in Mesa to call attention to civil rights.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to include a police response.

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