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Family Outraged After Police Officer Punches 13-Yr-Old Girl In The Face Multiple Times

A video of a Phoenix, Arizona police officer punching a 13-year-old girl in the face multiple times is causing outrage from the community. 

According to Phoenix police spokesperson Sgt. Ann Justus, the incident occurred on Monday at an apartment complex while officers were arresting four men who had allegedly stolen a car. The officers arrived at the complex in response to a 911 call about someone having found their stolen vehicle. 

Justus said officers were detaining four men who were in the vehicle in the parking lot when onlookers gathered to watch and record the arrest. As seen in cell phone video shared on social media Monday and on body camera video released by police on Tuesday, police repeatedly told the bystanders – including the teenage girl – to stay back. 

Police said the 13-year-old was approaching two officers who had a man in custody when a female officer grabbed the teen and pulled her back. According to a statement released by police, the teen struck the female officer in the face and knocked her body camera off, which is when the officer hit the girl back.  

Body camera and cell phone video of the incident shows the officer punching the 13-year-old girl multiple times in the face and head before taking her to the ground. It’s unclear from the video if the teen hit the officer in the face.  

The teen was arrested and charged with one count of assault on a police officer. She was booked into a Juvenile Correction Center.

The teen’s aunt, Charlene Thomas, recorded the brutal beating on her cell phone. 

“I’m yelling “she’s a minor!” You’re gonna lock me up when I’m telling them … even when I told them she’s a minor, they didn’t stop,” Charlene said. “She still kept going when she had her on the ground. She could’ve just stopped and done anything besides keep punching her.”

The teen and her family spoke about the incident at a news conference on Wednesday. 

“It was terrifying. I didnt know what the next step was gonna be,” the teen said. “I didnt know if I was gonna be unconscious or not.”

A man, identified as 25-year-old Javon Johnson, was also booked into the Maricopa County Jail after allegedly punching an officer in the face during the incident and grabbing onto an officer’s gun before he was restrained, authorities said.

Phoenix Police released the following statement regarded the teen’s arrest:

“A female, who officers later learned was 13-years-old, approached the officers as they were still detaining people. She was warned multiple times to get back. She walked in front of officers as they were trying to put one of the men in the backseat of a police car and was moved out of the way by an officer.”

“The female then passed by the officers who ordered her to stay back, and quickly approached two officers who had a man in custody. A female officer saw her approaching the officers and grabbed her arm to pull her back. The female swung her arm at the female officer, striking the female officer on the right side of the face. The officer’s body worn camera was knocked off at that time, and can be seen, on other officer’s body camera videos, flying off of her vest. The female officer responded to being hit by striking the female in the face.”

The police department said the incident is currently under review and asked if anyone has additional information to please contact them.

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