Mesa officer in violent arrest once celebrated on challenge coin

Dave Biscobing
5 Min Read

MESA, AZ — A Mesa officer being sued for a chaotic arrest that left a man unconscious at quinceanera has a history of use-of-force complaints and was previously featured on a challenge coin that appeared to celebrate police violence.

Officer Rudy Monarrez was one of seven officers specifically named on a challenge coin previously exposed in an ABC15 investigation.

He’s also been either counseled or reprimanded multiple times in the past for his use of force or improper conduct on the job, records show.

RELATED: Mesa police sued for knocking out man at a quinceanera


On October 2, 2022, Monarrez and several other officers responded to an “unknown trouble” call at a Mesa event hall where a man claimed he was punched during a 15-year-old’s birthday celebration.

Body camera videos obtained by ABC15 show multiple officers walked up to Daniel Barraza and surrounded him to ask him what happened.

Monarrez asked him if he’d like to take a seat and talk about what happened.

Standing with his arms crossed, Barraza turned and told Monarrez in broken English, “I don’t need to fight. I don’t need to sit. What do you need from me?”

Without warning, Monarrez suddenly pushed Barraza with two hands and a pair of other officers threw him to the ground. While on top of Barraza, the officers repeatedly punched, kicked and kneed him in the back and head.

One of the officers also tasered him twice.

The video shows the strikes knocked Barraza unconscious for several seconds.

Before approaching Barraza, the officers didn’t know that his goddaughter and other underage girls claimed an uninvited drunk man was touching them inappropriately on the dance floor.

Following the arrest, one of the officers told Barraza’s goddaughter, “He should have told us what happened. He probably wouldn’t be going to jail.”


Monarrez has been with the Mesa Police Department since 2017.

During his seven-year career, the officer has been internally investigated seven times, according to an internal document summarizing his history of complaints.

His record shows no suspensions but includes lesser disciplinary actions.

Monarrez is also under a current internal investigation but details about that probe are confidential because the case hasn’t been completed, records show.

In 2023, the officer received verbal counseling for “unnecessary or improper use of force,” records show.

In 2020, Monarrez was counseled again for “conduct unbecoming.”

And in 2018, he received a written reprimand for an incident involving officers knocking another man unconscious. That man, Robert Johnson, filed a lawsuit and received a $350,000 settlement.

Johnson’s lawyers also discovered there was a related challenge coin.

RELATED: Mesa challenge coin celebrated ‘inglorious bastards’

One side of the challenge coin said, “DOING IT RIGHT DESPITE THE HYPE.” The other side said, “INGLORIOUS BASTARDS.” It included the last names of seven Mesa police officers accused in excessive force cases.

At the time, Mesa police told ABC15 they did investigate the allegations about the coin, but their investigators could not determine the origin of the coin. There was no information indicating officers listed on the coin were responsible for the images, according to Mesa police.

Contact ABC15 Chief Investigator Dave Biscobing at [email protected].

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Dave Biscobing ,
Investigations , 2024-04-03 00:02:14

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