Tucson Police Department is investigating after an off-duty officer took two women to the ground and restrained them outside a restaurant earlier this month.
Tucson police spokesperson Officer Francisco Magos announced the investigation on Sunday. The statement comes a day after opinion columnist Tim Steller of the Arizona Daily Star published a lengthy account of the incident as well as a video of the altercation.
According to reporting by Steller, on November 14 a mother and her two adult daughters were walking across the parking lot of a local restaurant when a driver stepped out of his vehicle and walked toward them expressing annoyance at their slow pace. An argument ensued between one of the daughters and the man. The five-minute video shows the officer, who is not in uniform, restraining the woman and her mother who tried to intervene. The second daughter started filming the incident after the officer had already restrained the two women using his knee to pin them to the ground.
Steller reports that the officer disputes the events that led to the physical confrontation.
About halfway through the video, the officer releases the women after a bystander repeatedly asks him to let them go. The two women and the man get up while the woman filming is heard on a call with 911 describing the incident, her voice distraught.
“I appreciate that 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," Chief Chris Magnus stated on Sunday. "The department holds its members to high standards both on and off duty, and we will review this matter in light of those standards," he added.
Tucson police were already conducting an administrative investigation but also asked the Pima County Attorney’s Office to look into the incident to determine whether any criminal charges should be issued, Magos said.
Reach breaking news reporter Julie Luchetta at email@example.com.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Tucson police investigate off-duty officer who restrained 2 women