Phoenix Police falsely claimed that the protester stabbed the officer with a “sharpened” umbrella

PHOENIX – Phoenix officials beautified the facts at another protest arrest last year by falsely claiming that a protester deliberately stabbed a sergeant with a sharpened umbrella tip, according to a cell phone video and evidence photos from ABC15.

Community groups said the criminal case against Survarna Ratnam was the last Phoenix protest case that was not dismissed after an ABC15 investigation.

However, the Maricopa County Procuratorate has filed a motion to reduce the charges against Ratnam.

Why did prosecutors lower the charges against Ratnam? Check out the full Politically Charged report on the ABC15 news at 10pm tonight

A new prosecutor hiring the case wrote that further review raises questions about Phoenix’s evidence and the officers’ report on what happened.

“Sue’s entire profile has been outrageous and untrue and they must dismiss this case,” said Ken Countryman, Ratnam’s attorney. “You have to stop targeting and harassing her.”

POLITICAL FEES: ABC15 investigates Phoenix protest cases

Officials arrested Suvarna Ratnam on August 23, 2020 for multiple grievous bodily harm.

In prison booking documents, officials said Ratnam threw a water bottle and then turned to run away from an officer.

“As she was running south, a police sergeant came north from Monroe Street and ordered (Ratnam) to stop. She picked up the umbrella and began swinging it forcibly as she walked towards the police sergeant. Then [sic] pointed the umbrella at the police sergeant and used it as a weapon to stab him in the hand. The sting was so forceful that it broke the skin of the police sergeant’s right palm, causing him to bleed. On the umbrella, which was used as a weapon, there is a 3-inch point made of sharpened metal, which the police sergeant noticed that he had bent the metal of the umbrella, ”said the officers’ report of the event.

Several cell phone videos reveal that Ratnam never swung or leveled the umbrella. The videos show her trying to run past the sergeant.

A photo evidence of the umbrella tip also shows that it has not been sharpened or bent.

According to the videos, the sergeant’s right hand does not seem to be touching the tip of the umbrella. Instead, the sergeant raises his right arm and wraps it around Ratnam’s neck and shoulders as he pushes her to the ground.

“If anything, they sustained wounds while brutalizing me for standing on a sidewalk,” Ratnam said in an interview with ABC15. “I hit my head against a lamp post and put it in a stranglehold. If someone else is inflicted this type of violence, they may have left a wound. But I never attacked her. “

Phoenix Police officers did not reply in writing to specific questions about their officers’ version of the arrest.

Ratnam was initially charged with aggravated assault with a lethal weapon – a Class 2 crime.

The only charges higher in Arizona: first and second degree murder.

In a motion to reduce the charges against Ratnam, the Maricopa County Prosecutor is now denying the original umbrella claims.

“Further review of the evidence by the state showed that the metal tip of the umbrella did not appear to have been altered or made sharper than the original,” the motion said. “Applying the legal definition of” dangerous instrument “and taking into account all of the evidence, including the body camera video, the state believes it is appropriate to reduce the level of serious attacks in this regard.”

The Maricopa County Prosecutor hired a new prosecutor after the previous one was reassigned and on leave following an ABC15 investigation into the protest cases.

Former prosecutor April Sponsel is accused of misrepresenting evidence and exaggerating facts to large juries in several protest cases.

The most notorious decision is for the Sponsel and Phoenix police to work together to indict a group of protesters who were arrested as a street criminal on October 17th.

Ratnam was also one of the people arrested on October 17, but the charge has been dismissed unscathed.

After his arrest in October, Sponsel tried unsuccessfully to detain Ratnam before trial.

At a court hearing to discuss Ratnam’s release, Sponsel told the judge that she had used a sharpened umbrella to cut an officer’s hand during her previous arrest.

Sponsel informed the judge that during her previous arrest, Ratnam was carrying bomb-making materials that could be used in Molotov cocktails.

In police reports, officials said they found a bottle of acetone – or nail polish remover – in Ratnam’s backpack on August 23.

However, it was discarded and never tested, as records show. Neither was the water bottle that Ratnam allegedly threw.

The motion filed by the new prosecutor raises concerns about the evidence.

“The undersigned attorney has also requested follow-up examinations and documentation regarding a bottle of acetone found on the defendant’s property and whether the water bottle contained anything other than water,” the motion said.

For the water bottle, the Maricopa prosecutor is now requesting that it be charged with a misdemeanor for disorderly behavior, rather than for aggravated assault.

“If they thought they had something, they wouldn’t have destroyed it. That’s just wrong, ”Countryman told ABC15. “It’s one thing to disagree with something. But it’s very different to making up lies, fabricating evidence, and destroying evidence to prove what is not true. “

In an email response, Phoenix Police addressed a number of questions about the water bottle but did not provide any answers about the officers’ umbrella or account.

“The Phoenix Police Department relies on evidence from various sources. Evidence can be obtained from items such as, but not limited to, testimonies, videos, pictures, and physical items. With regard to the water bottle, the contents of the water bottle at the time of arrest are not relevant. Just throwing a bottle at an officer is considered a serious attack, ”wrote a police spokesman. “All criminal cases have been submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney, and after reviewing them, additional questions or inquiries may be directed to the detective, which is the case with this investigation. We are currently unable to provide you with any additional information. “

So far, more than three dozen protests against Phoenix from 2020 have been dismissed unscathed.

A negotiation date for Ratnam is still pending.

Contact ABC15 investigator Dave Biscobing at [email protected]

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