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Apr 11, 2014 9:27 PM by Lupita Murillo

Attorney for TPD Sgt. who shoved UA student over a bench speaks out

TUCSON - Tucson police Sgt. Joel Mann is scheduled to talk to Arizona Department of Public Safety investigators next week. It involves the criminal investigation of the female U of A student who was pushed over a bench on University Blvd.

It happened March 29th at Main Gate Square, after the U of A's loss to Wisconsin in the Elite 8.

The video of Sgt. Joel Mann seeming to shove the student has sparked outrage. His attorney Mike Storie spoke to News 4 Tucson in an exclusive interview. He says he can understand how the video is shocking to the public. "When you break the video down and examine it tactically you find out the officers actions are justified," said Storie.

Sgt. Mann is one of the instructors for the Mobile Field Force training that was used on March 29th. Storie says, "Their direction is don't let anybody approach the back of that line."

After repeated requests from TPD for the crowd to disperse, the Mobile Field Force units took action. "These people had been directed do not approach from the rear. They did, so Sgt. Mann had to react instantly."

The Sgt. used his baton to push the girl back which is part of the training according to Storie.
"Unfortunately that bench was there. I don't believe he knew that bench was there and that caused her to lose her footing and fall over the bench."

Storie adds, "Sgt. Mann feels awful with the way it turned out. But, he's very comfortable with the fact that he followed training."

Yet some say Tucson police went too far. Stories says, "Absolutely not, there's been a lot of criticism of their tactics. But quite honestly you can't let a crowd build and gamble with the hopes they'll behave themselves when they are intoxicated."

Death threats against Sgt. Joel Mann and his family have him reassigned from his patrol duties.

News 4 Tucson reached out to the U of A's student's attorney. He's not responded.

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