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Police recommend assault charges against Phoenix officers involved in violent arrest

The charges are related to an arrest made in October at a convenience store near 59th Avenue and Buckeye Road.

PHOENIX — Police have submitted assault charges to prosecutors against the two Phoenix officers who were captured on video violently kicking a suspect they were attempting to detain inside a convenience store. 

RELATED: Two Phoenix officers on leave after video shows aggressive arrest

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office said it had received submittals from Phoenix police for charges against Eddie Becerra and Nicholas Beck for an arrest they made in late October. 

The officers arrested Harry Denman after the suspect allegedly pulled out a handgun and fired two rounds at a patrol car near 59th Avenue and Buckeye Road. One bullet hit the ground, and the second hit the patrol car’s spotlight and went into the driver’s side, police said.

The officers then chased after Denman as he ran inside the convenience store. A bystander then recorded the officers kicking, head-stomping, and hitting Denman with their guns as he lay on the ground.

Police have said in public records that the officers had to use force because Denman may have still been armed with a weapon. 

Denman suffered injuries and was taken to a local hospital for medical attention before he was booked into jail. 

MCAO said the following charges had been submitted to the agency:

Eddie Becerra-

  • 1 count of aggravated assault- assault while restrained, class 6 felony
  • 1 count of aggravated assault- firearm, class 3 felony
  • 1 count of assault- class 1 misdemeanor

Nicholas Beck-

  • 1 count of aggravated assault- firearm ARS 13-1204A3, class 3 felony
  • 1 count of assault- class 1 misdemeanor

It has historically been rare for an agency like MCAO to proceed with prosecuting criminal charges against a police officer. 

Phoenix Police Chief Michael Sullivan released the following statement regarding the charges submitted against the two officers:

At the time the incident occurred, I promised a complete and thorough investigation. That investigation has been completed and has been turned over to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office with the recommendation for charges.  

Police officers must be held to a high standard of excellence and, when we fall short, must be held accountable. I have confidence in the legal process and will allow it to play out in an unbiased manner.

Both officers remain on administrative leave.

In another statement, the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association said the review process by the County Attorney "is normal protocol." 

So far this year, MCAO records show they have received 23 cases involving police. Of those, only eight cases have been reviewed, and of those, no charges were filed against officers. 

Phoenix police said the officers involved are both assigned to the South Mountain Precinct. One of the officers has six years in the department, and the other has less than one year. The Department would not clarify which was the time of employment for Becerra or Beck.

A grand jury indicted Denman on two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of discharging a firearm on Nov. 4. He has since then pled not guilty. 

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: Policía recomienda cargos por agresión contra 2 oficiales de Phoenix involucrados en violento arresto


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