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Mesa, Phoenix Police Officers Facing Felony Charges In Separate Assault Incidents

The Maricopa County attorney announced felony charges against two Valley police officers on Wednesday. 

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is accusing a Mesa police officer of aggravated assault and a Phoenix police officer of sexually assaulting two different victims in custody.

Mesa police Officer Nathan Chisler is accused of assaulting a victim with a firearm in late 2019.

Mesa police spokesperson Nik Rasheta said Officer Chisler was reassigned to an administrative role at the time of the incident.

"He was served with a notice of a pre-deprivation hearing on Monday, June 22 with a recommendation of termination from the Mesa Police Department," Rasheta said. "He has the right to due process, and he will have the opportunity to appeal if necessary. As of right now he remains employed with the city of Mesa Police Department." 

The Mesa Police Association issued a statement saying it was disappointed the county attorney did not take the Mesa case to a grand jury before filing charges.

Phoenix police Officer Sean Pena is accused of sexually assaulting two different victims in custody last year and in 2018.

Phoenix police spokesperson Sgt. Tommy Thompson said Pena was placed on administrative leave in November 2019.

"In February 2020, the investigation conducted by the Phoenix Police Department was submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for charging," Thompson said. "A termination or Loudermill hearing has already been scheduled for Pena."

Thompson said Pena has been with the Phoenix Police Department for approximately three years.

Maricopa County Attorney Communications Director Jennifer Liewer said it is a coincidence that both cases were completed at the same time. Liewer said both officers were served in the past 24 hours and neither are currently in custody.

Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.