Mesa cop charged in shooting unarmed man The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Mesa cop charged in shooting unarmed man

Mesa cop charged in shooting unarmed man
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By Jim Walsh
Tribune Staff Writer

A Mesa police officer has been charged with aggravated assault in the shooting of an intoxicated unarmed man who fought with officers outside a sports bar while they were trying to arrest him.

Officer Nathan Chisler also was served with a notice that the Mesa police plan to fire him after an internal affairs investigation in the non-fatal of shooting of Randy Sewell, 45.

Sewell was accused of aggravated assault on a police officer and several lesser charges – including resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing and failure to provide his true name to officers.

Chisler told police during the internal affairs investigation that he intentionally shot Sewell in the buttocks because he feared for his life during what one officer described as “an extremely violent altercation’’ on Dec. 6, outside the Ojos Locos Sports Cantina, 1656 S. Alma School Rd. 

Police said Sewell was one of three men extremely intoxicated, after drinking at the bar for three or four hours, ringing up a $129 bar tab, according to Mesa police report.

The report said the three men became belligerent, objecting when the manager refused to serve them any more alcohol.

The manager told police that Sewell and his friends, Cian Philip MacHale and Gordon Wayne Keane, refused to leave when they were asked to do so three times.

Eventually, the group of men left and paid their tab, but the manager called police to have them put on a trespassing list so they would not return, the report said.

The fight started when police approached the group outside the bar in a parking lot and Sewell refused to give them his name. Sewell agreed to put his hands behind his back but fought officers when they attempted to handcuff him, throwing two officers against a nearby light pole.

Police deployed a taser stun gun, but to no avail. Chisler said he shot Sewell after determining his fellow officers couldn’t bring him under arrest.

Another officer reported, “we were losing control over him,’’ adding that Chisler seemed “downtrodden’’ after the shooting.

Chisler told police he had concerns about whether Sewell was armed because Sewell made motions with his hands toward his waistband, where weapons are often hidden.

Officers said they never had an opportunity to pat down Sewell, to see if he was armed because the fight erupted so quickly, the report said.

“After reviewing the evidence of this shooting, Chief (Ken) Cost had significant concerns with Officer Nathan Chisler’s actions. Chief Cost initiated a professional standards investigation regarding the conduct of Officer Chisler in this case,’’ according to a Mesa police press release.

The Mesa Police Association issued a statement criticizing Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel for filing a criminal complaint against Chisler.

“Typically, these cases are first reviewed by a grand jury before charges are filed,” the association said. “We are disappointed Ms. Adel chose to circumvent that process and we vehemently disagree with her decision. We respect due process – one that’s free from political influence – for all people.” 

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