Fired Phoenix Cop Sentenced to One-Year Probation for Hitting Handcuffed Man

Tim Baiardi and a screenshot from the video of Baiardi slapping a handcuffed man.
Tim Baiardi and a screenshot from the video of Baiardi slapping a handcuffed man. Phoenix Police Department
A former Phoenix police officer and ex-union leader who was caught on video slapping a handcuffed suspect was sentenced to one year of probation on Friday. Timothy Baiardi pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct last month as part of a plea deal, evading the more serious aggravated assault charge he had faced.

Baiardi was fired earlier this month.

"Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams has terminated Officer Tim Baiardi’s employment with the Phoenix Police Department," Phoenix police spokesperson Sergeant Tommy Thompson said at the time. "His termination became official on August 7, 2019."

Last December, Baiardi was working an off-duty security detail at a Walmart on 51st Avenue and Indian School Road when he arrested a man on suspicion of shoplifting. Baiardi handcuffed the man and took him into the store's loss-prevention office. While the man was sitting on a bench, handcuffed with his arms behind his back, Baiardi slapped him in the face.

Booking paperwork from the shoplifting suspect's arrest states that Baiardi delivered "2-3" knee strikes and "4-5 closed fist strikes" to the man in addition to the slap that was captured on video by a security camera in the Walmart office.

After the Phoenix Police Department learned of the incident, Baiardi was placed on leave and the department began a criminal investigation into his actions, eventually recommending charges be brought against the officer.

In May, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office charged Baiardi with aggravated assault. An indictment filed by the County Attorney's Office states that Baiardi "slapped [the man] across the left side of his face with considerable force," and that Baiardi "denied striking [the man] when questioned by two supervisors and provided no justification for the strike."

Despite his denial, Baiardi took a plea deal last month that allowed him to plead guilty to the lesser charge of disorderly conduct. As part of the agreement, Baiardi will be placed on unsupervised probation, will pay restitution to the victim, and will have his criminal conviction reported to the Arizona Police Officers Standards and Training Board.

The former board member for the Phoenix Police Department's union previously had been suspended in 2005 for striking another handcuffed suspect.

He was also one of dozens of Phoenix police officers whose Facebook posts were included in a database created by the Plain View Project in an effort to catalog bigotry and racism among police officers nationwide.

Though this post was not included in the database, a Phoenix New Times review of Baiardi's Facebook (which has since been deactivated), showed that Baiardi posted a meme of former United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis captioned: "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."
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Meg O'Connor was a staff writer for Phoenix New Times from April 2019 to April 2020.