The Tucson police officer who was caught on video brutally pummeling a female student as she walked innocuously near the campus of the University of Arizona has been identified as Joel Mann, according to local ABC affiliate KGUN.
The thuggish incident occurred on Saturday as packed bars near campus slowly cleared out after the Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team lost a thrilling overtime game.
Mann, a sergeant with 18 years of experience, was one of a legion of officers deployed in full, pseudo-military riot gear. He wore a helmet and face shield.
In the video, Mann comes out of absolutely nowhere and violently pushes woman over a metal frame. She is smashed head over heels to the ground.
The woman had neither a helmet nor a face shield. She was wearing shorts.
Tucson’s police department has reassigned Mann after a large number of anonymous threats were made against him, reports the Daily Mail.
Photographer Andrew Brown tweeted the photograph of the SWAT-looking police officer in the photograph here, with a message explaining that he had snapped a photo of the cop who had pushed the woman.
All told, about 50 police officers showed up in riot gear Saturday night. Numerous bystanders say the officers began to act with great hostility toward people in the vast crowd—essentially starting the riot they were sent to prevent.
The department has indicated that it is investigating the threats against Mann and, if warranted, will seek prosecution.
It’s not clear if Tucson Police will seek prosecution against Mann for his violent outburst against the student.
Mann has not spoken publicly about why he chose to approach a woman in what appears to be a wholly arbitrary fashion and force her violently to the ground.
The woman who Mann brutally shoved has identified herself as Christina Gardilcic. She gave an exclusive interview to ABC News.
“We were just walking behind on the sidewalk and next thing I know I was just on a bench,” Gardilcic told ABC on Wednesday. “My feet were… up in the air and I just got hit. It really happened very fast. I got up fast ’cause I was kind of in shock.”
“What happened to me, I consider excessive force,” Gardilcic added in the ABC interview. “I had no idea I was doing anything wrong. If I was, and he physically shoved me and I fell, I could have been really hurt.”