An on-duty Mesa police sergeant who made an insulting gesture twice with his hands at a group of immigrant protesters in early September was given a written reprimand and forced to go to First Amendment training, a report released Tuesday shows.
Sgt. Mike Doherty, a 20-year veteran, violated a city policy involving conduct and courtesy when he put up his middle finger toward the crowd of about 30 people, the report shows.
The sergeant apologized to internal affairs officers, admitting that he knew better and let his emotions “get the best of him,” but that he doesn’t like picketers.
Doherty said in the report that his dislike for picketers stems from his early days in Arizona and recalled a picketing situation in Globe where several people were hurt.
The sergeant attended the First Amendment class on Sept. 20 at Arizona State University, the report shows. He was also ordered to attend all Mesa police patrol briefings throughout the city and share what he learned about the First Amendment.
A representative of Immigrants Without Borders, who organized the protest in response to new laws that will punish employers for hiring illegal immigrants, was not immediately available for comment Thursday.