Officer Tim Baiardi, 44, of the Phoenix Police Department is facing criminal charges, accused of assaulting a homeless man trying to steal multiple pairs of pants from a Walmart store.
The theft suspect identified as Roger Moran, 22, was arrested December 8, 2018. His mugshot shows several cuts and bruises to his face. On April 19 the police department finally decided to recommend that charges be filed against Baiardi.
On December 8, 2018, Moran was caught attempting to steal clothing from a area Walmart. Baiardi tried arresting Moran, but court documents list three instances where Moran is accused of resisting arrest, even trying to grab the arresting officer's testicles, 12 News reports.
A 19-year veteran of the force, Baiardi delivered 23 knee strikes to Moran's face.
The police report written by a different responding officer added, "Moran attempted to escape again and the officer was able to deliver 45 closed fist strikes."
Moran was then cuffed and taken to the Walmart's security office.
Baiardi then told Moran to sit on a bench. Moran complied. It was then that Baiardi slapped Moran in the face. The slap caused Moran to fall off the bench and his eyes to roll to the back of his head.
During an interview with police, Moran revealed that Baiardi slapped him while he was handcuffed. But when two supervising officers confronted Baiardi about the handcuffed slap, he denied it.
The two supervising officers then retrieved surveillance video form the Walmart security office, which showed Baiardi slapping the handcuffed Moran.
Baiardi is now assigned to his home, according to the Phoenix Police Department.
Officials say they have launched an internal investigation.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s office confirmed that the Phoenix Police Department has forwarded the case, which recommends Baiardi be charged with aggravated assault – a class six felony.
Walmart released this statement regarding the allegations:
Customer and associate safety is a responsibility we take seriously. One of Walmart's core values is respect for the individual and we expect each associate and all third-party workers to act with respect for others and the law.