[WATCH] Case in Limbo Against Flagstaff Police Officer Caught on Camera Punching Woman

Citing errors on the part of prosecutors, a judge this week ordered that a grand jury must re-examine whether there is enough evidence to charge a former Flagstaff police officer caught on video punching a woman in the face in 2016.

The decision handed down by Coconino County Superior Court Judge Cathleen Brown Nichols is largely rooted in the state’s omission of evidence that was favorable to former officer Jeffrey Brandon Wilson.

Wilson, who took his wife’s last name after they wed, had the legal name of Jeffrey Bonar when the incident occurred.

The latest move in the case came on the heels of calls by Wilson’s attorneys to dismiss the case entirely on the basis of prosecutorial misconduct. Though the case wasn’t thrown out, this week’s development did provide a window of opportunity, Wilson’s attorney, Marc J. Victor, told The Arizona Republic.

Victor said he was “very pleased” with the judge’s decision. He said Wilson acted appropriately given the circumstances and felt like he wasn’t given “a fair shake” during the original indictment proceedings.

“I think it’s unfortunate that the case was not properly presented in the first case,” Victor said. “I suspect the grand jury might not have indicted him had they known everything.”

Wilson, then Officer Jeffrey Bonar, was placed on administrative leave shortly after bystander video of the Nov.16 incident surfaced on Facebook. That video shows Wilson grappling with 30-year-old Marissa Morris after he responded to help a Coconino County Sheriff’s Office deputy serve an eviction notice.

Wilson said he believed a previous warrant for the woman remained active. It did not.

At one point during the struggle, Wilson can be seen — and heard — punching Morris in the face after she tells him, “You cannot arrest me until I know I have a warrant.”

Wilson resigned after an internal review found him to be in violation of department policies, and an independent report headed by Northern Arizona University police criticized his actions.

All told, he was found to be in violation of six department policies, including using unreasonable and excessive force in the situation and not turning on his body camera — the device captured moments before and after the incident, but not the events that he said transpired too quickly to activate it.

His behavior that afternoon was described as “frazzled” by the men who assisted him in Morris’ arrest. Despite his experience, his demeanor was described as more like that of a rookie officer in his first physical altercation.

Records obtained by The Republic show Wilson was hired by the Flagstaff Police Department on Dec. 30, 2013, and completed his training May 8, 2014.

He was due to be fired from Flagstaff police, but he instead notified top brass of his plan to resign hours before a meeting about the situation.

The officer said he was kicked in the groin and assaulted. That, along with Wilson’s assertion that his use of force was not excessive given the situation, “if believed by the grand jury is clearly exculpatory evidence that should have been presented,” the judge wrote in this week’s 14-page decision on the matter.

For the full article visit: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2017/09/22/former-flagstaff-officer-shown-viral-video-punching-woman-assault-case-limbo/691312001/

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5620 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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