TUCSON, Ariz. — An off-duty Tucson police officer who was seen on video pinning a woman and her grown daughter to the ground in a restaurant parking lot two weeks ago faces administrative and criminal investigations, the police department said in a statement.
The department made the statement after the Arizona Daily Star published a report showcasing cellphone video of the Nov. 14 event.
It shows the officer with his knee on the neck of a woman lying on her back while he is also keeping a second woman down on the ground by using his arm and upper body.
The officer in the video identifies himself as police to a bystander and claims the women assaulted him.
Michelle Aloisi, 62, told the Tucson newspaper she and her two daughters were walking in the parking lot after having brunch when a car stopped abruptly and that the officer got out and berated them for walking too slowly.
She said the officer chest-bumped her daughter. Brittany Aloisi-Wiles, 39, is seen on video with the officer’s knee on her neck. Aloisi’s other daughter took the video, the newspaper reported.
The officer was identified by the Arizona Daily Star as Robert Szelewski. His lawyer, Mike Storie, disputed Aloisi’s account and said the women had started the confrontation.
“He had no intention of escalating or having this go further,” Storie told the newspaper. “The one woman chest-bumps him, and that’s when he decided that he needed to take her into custody.”
Storie, who specializes in representing southern Arizona law enforcement workers, did not immediately return messages Monday from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magus said “the video of this incident raises concerns, but it is important that we adhere to the legal requirement of due process and allow both the criminal and administrative investigations to be completed before determinations are made and further steps taken.”