A Phoenix police officer is back on the job despite being fired after video was released in April showing a, now fired detective, stomping a teenage boys teeth out.
The surveillance footage shows Detective Kevin McGowan walking into the store and pulling his weapon on 18-year-old Patrick D’Labik during a Dec. 23, 2014 incident at a smoke shop at 3860 E. McDowell Rd.
The teen immediately puts his hands in the air and starts to get down on the ground before McGowan stomps his upper back and head, forcing his face to smash against the ground.
“I tasted blood and that’s when I had spit and I looked on the ground and my teeth was already there,” D’Labik said after the videos release.
The stomp knocked out three of his teeth and broke two others.
Police say McGowan was part of the Fugitive Apprehension Team looking for a homicide suspect on the day of the incident and had seen D’Labik earlier that morning, walking with a subject that looked like the suspect they sought.
When McGowan saw D’Labik a little while later walking by himself along 40th Street near McDowell Road, he pulled up to him to try to talk with him, police say.
McGowan told investigators that when he started to get out of his vehicle, D’Labik took off running.
D’Labik admits he ran because he had a small amount of marijuana in his pocket and feared arrest as he had just gotten out of juvenile detention when he turned 18 in November. The teen reportedly threw the drugs during the chase.
McGowan ran after D’Labik and confronted him inside the smoke shop at gunpoint.
“He was like, ‘Put your hands up,’ so I put the phone down, I put my hands up. He said, ‘Get on the ground,’ and I went to get on the ground and that’s what he did,” D’Labik said.
McGowan contends that he was concerned the teen might run again and delivered the strike to “get him on the ground quicker.”
Investigators initially submitted a report to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for review for possible aggravated assault charges, but in February, the office said it declined prosecution against McGowan because “no crime had been committed.”
Police Chief Joe Yahner said however, that he believed the force was excessive and egregious enough to warrant termination and the detective was on paid leave until his firing in March.
“The use of excessive force will not be tolerated by the Phoenix Police Department, but because this case is currently being appealed we cannot discuss the specifics and will respect the civil service process,” Phoenix police said at the time.
McGowan is appealed his termination to the City of Phoenix Civil Service Board who voted to reinstate him last week.
Local news coverage containing raw footage: