A former Gilbert cop who put his service weapon against a handcuffed woman’s head during an arrest could lose his certification.
The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board last week unanimously voted to initiate proceedings against Andrew J. Neves that could include suspension or revocation of his certification to be a police officer in the state.
Gilbert Police did not say by the Gilbert Sun News deadline when Neves left the force and if he resigned or was fired.
The incident in question unfolded Oct. 1, 2022 when Neves was dispatched to help fellow officers stop a woman fleeing from police in a stolen vehicle, according to Rich Bradshaw, AZ POST compliance specialist.
The woman, identified only as Christina, had attempted to drive directly at several officers in their marked police vehicles, Bradshaw said.
“Neves found Christina in her vehicle in a residential neighborhood,” Bradshaw said. “Christina then intentionally used the stolen vehicle to collide with Neves, who then used his marked patrol vehicle to push her up into a driveway which helped contain her.”
Bradshaw said two other Gilbert officers arrived at the scene and while one of the officers pulled the woman out from the vehicle, “Neves provided lethal overage with his duty weapon.”
Bradshaw presented body camera videos of the arrest that showed the woman screaming as she resisted the officers’ orders to put her hands behind her back.
While the two other officers attempted to handcuff her, Neves knelt down by Christina’s head and used his “duty weapon to push her head to the ground by placing the muzzle directly against her temple,” he said.
“Neves pushed down on Christina’s head for approximately 10 seconds,” he continued.
A sergeant than arrived and “forcefully and carefully pushed Neves’ hands to the side to get the barrel of the gun off of Christina’s head,” Bradshaw said.
While the sergeant moved to the other side, “Neves again used his duty weapon to push down on Christina’s head approximately five seconds until Christina was handcuffed by the other officers,” Bradshaw said.
He said that a defense tactics and firearms instructor for Gilbert Police reviewed the incident and “wrote, ‘Officer Neves decided to point his firearm at the suspect’s head with pressure down. This is not taught at any police academy I’m aware of and violated rule No. 2 of the firearm safety rule stating to not point the firearm at anything you’re not willing to destroy.’”
Bradshaw said the instructor also stated that using both lethal coverage and head control are not usually advised and not taught.
“The incident was investigated by Gilbert PD and they sustained a use of force policy violation,” Bradshaw said.
An Arizona POST master defense tactics and fire instructor also reviewed the body-worn camera footage.
He determined the force used by Neves during his contact with the suspect was not in accordance with the agency’s firearms tactics and was not reasonable based upon the suspect’s actions, according to Bradshaw.
Neves also is currently being sued in federal court along with two other Gilbert cops and the Town of Gilbert over an October 2020 incident. The suit is making its way through the legal system.
By Cecilia Chan, GSN Managing Editor www.gilbertsunnews.com
2023-08-22 07:00:00 , www.gilbertsunnews.com – Vivrr Local Results in news of type article