NEWS
07/06/2018 06:36 SAST | Updated 07/06/2018 06:53 SAST

US Cops On Paid Leave After Video Shows Them Beating Unarmed Man

Robert Johnson, 33, was repeatedly kicked and punched in the head during his arrest by Mesa police on May 23.

Four Arizona police officers have been placed on administrative leave after newly released surveillance footage shows them repeatedly punching and kicking an unarmed man.

In the video, Mesa police can be seen approaching Robert Johnson, 33, on May 23 as he talked on his cellphone near an elevator on the fourth-story deck of an apartment complex.

Moments later, the four cops are seen grabbing Johnson, who is standing in a corner, and forcing him to the ground. The officers repeatedly kick Johnson, as one cop delivers multiple blows to his head. Two more officers then join the arrest.

Johnson was not being investigated at the time. The cops were apparently responding to a domestic violence dispute involving Johnson's friend, 20-year-old Erick Reyes, according to NBC affiliate KPNX.

Johnson is facing charges of suspicion of disorderly conduct and hindering prosecution, reported WDSU. The surveillance video doesn't contain audio, though officials have claimed Johnson was argumentative and refused to cooperate with the officers' commands.

Mesa Police Chief Ramon Batista told local media outlets that he wasn't aware of the incident until a week later when a community member reached out to him about it.

Three police officers and one sergeant ― whose identities have not been released ― have been placed on administrative leave while an internal investigation is conducted.

"This in no way represents the whole work that is done everyday," Batista told reporters. "They're human beings and certainly at first glance this looks like a mistake, it doesn't look right. And it's my job, it's our job to collectively investigate and find the answers to this."

In response to the incident, the police department has reportedly revised its use-of-force policy to note that officers can only strike someone in the head or face if the person becomes physically violent first.

A representative for the Mesa Police Department did not immediately respond to HuffPost's request for comment.