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Police: Officer faces assault charge for hitting handcuffed shoplifting suspect

The Phoenix Police Department said one of its officers was seen on surveillance video slapping a handcuffed shoplifting suspect who had fought with the officer during the arrest.
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PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department said it is recommending an assault charge for one of its officers after being provided surveillance video of the officer hitting a handcuffed shoplifting suspect in December.

Police said the incident happened on Dec. 8, 2018 at a Walmart near 51st Avenue and Indian School Road, where 44-year-old Officer Timothy Baiardi was working off duty.

According to the police report, Baiardi arrested 22-year-old Roger Moran in the men’s clothing area of the store on suspicion of shoplifting. The report says Moran resisted arrest and fought with Baiardi in the process.

According to a booking report, in the process of taking Moran into custody, Baiardi kneed the suspect two to three times and punched him four to five times.

After Moran was handcuffed, Baiardi escorted him to the loss prevention office and told Moran to sit down on a bench.

Once Moran did, Baiardi slapped Moran across the left side of his face, causing Moran to partially fall from the bench, the police report says. Police said Baiardi then got close to Moran’s face and scolded him for grabbing his groin during the arrest.

During an interview with police, Moran reported the strike. The police report says Baiardi denied hitting Moran when questioned by two supervisors.

However, police said the department obtained surveillance video from the loss prevention office that corroborates Moran’s account of the incident.  

Phoenix police said Baiardi, who has been with the department for 17 years, was placed on administrative leave and assigned to his home pending the completion of a criminal investigation and an internal investigation.

Police recommended a felony charge of aggravated assault. 

The criminal investigation has been submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review.