Cop facing second investigation for excessive force on black civilians
Earlier this month, a video depicting police response to a shoplifting theft went viral in Phoenix. Now, it seems one of the officers involved has a prior incident to his name, as a new person has come forward.
An investigation was opened after cell phone footage was released, showing an officer sweeping the leg of a handcuffed man and verbally abusing him as he complied with the officer's requests.
Here's a report on the recent incident
A new allegation comes from Dante Patterson, who claims that he was treated with excessive force in 2018. Patterson was pepper sprayed by Officer Christopher Meyer after allegedly being asked to leave an amusement park he was visiting with his co-workers and kids.
Speaking to ABC 10 News, Patterson claimed that statements Meyer wrote in his police report were inaccurate, so he wasn't shocked to find out he'd been involved in the now-viral incident from May.
"I was not too surprised. My main concern [was] I didn't want him to do this to anyone else. It looked like it happened," Patterson said about the recent video.
During the 2018 incident, Meyer was working an off-duty security job at the park, but was still wearing his Phoenix Police Department badge. Patterson said that others were "messing with him" on a bumper boats ride, at which point he told them to "leave him the f*** alone". One of the mothers complained, at which point park employees claimed they asked him to leave as he was on his way out of the park.
Patterson, however, claims he was on a "smoke break" and was planning on returning. He and other witnesses claimed that he was never told to leave, but when he returned, Meyer was notified and escorted Patterson out of the park. "I was already being escorted out, and he just decided to pepper spray me," Patterson said of the incident.
Meyer wrote that Patterson had become angry and swore profusely at him, which he denies. "I just was not saying, 'yes sir, no sir, sorry sir.' That’s what the real crime was," Patterson said. "He was the one belligerent, aggressive."
Meyer said that Patterson repeatedly stopped walking, before eventually turning around. He then, according to the officer, "postured with his fists clenched raised in front of him, in a fighting stance, squared off towards the officer". Patterson said this placed him "in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury" and proceeded to use pepper spray from "eight to ten feet away".
He claimed to have hit him in the back with the spray for three seconds, then in the face for less than one second. However, Patterson told other officers that the reason his back was covered in the spray was because he never stopped walking away, only turning his head slightly to respond to the officer. He also claimed that he never clenched his fists or made any other threatening gestures.
"In reference to the "clenched fists and fighting stance, that did not happen at all," a friend of Patterson's who witnessed the incident said in court.
"Dante had his hands down but open...no signs of him squaring up or provoking the officer to use force in any kind of way. I was watching [Officer Meyer] the whole time...What's worse is that even with Dante facing away from the pepper spray, the officer continued to keep spraying him.
"The other officers kept asking me about what happened and how everything escalated. I kept repeating the same things over and over, but they kept looking for a specific connection to the arresting officer's story."
Meyer then pointed his taser at Patterson's back as he was on the ground, blinded, at which point they found Patterson's pistol. The 21-year-old said he was carrying the gun legally, and said he would never try to get into a fistfight with an officer while carrying a firearm. "Who would square up if they have their gun?" he said.
Patterson was later charged with multiple counts of disorderly conduct and aggravated assault on an officer. He reached a plea agreement to a single misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, and was placed on probation.
He later tried to file a complaint with the Professional Standards Bureau on two occasions, but was told the case had been reviewed and closed. Meyer remained on the force, and is now the subject of an internal investigation for the events of May 2019.