Multiple witnesses at a local tavern reported observing a man “placing his hands on or around the throat” of a juvenile over the weekend.

The Maricopa Police Department arrested William Bentley May 5 on suspicion of two aggravated assault charges related to strangulation against a minor, child abuse and endangerment.

The incident reportedly occurred at approximately 7:27 p.m. at True Grit Tavern, 20800 N. John Wayne Parkway.

According to witnesses, the child had been with his mother and two other juveniles at the establishment since 11 a.m.

Hours later, Bentley gave a statement to police after being read his Miranda rights.

“He said when he got to the bar where his girlfriend and the three juveniles (were), including the victim, they had dinner and the victim was ‘acting up,’ so they decided to leave,” according to the police report.

Witnesses told police the mother and Bentley yelled and screamed at the victim inside the bar.

Bentley said the child became disruptive. He allegedly admitted to grabbing the child, taking him behind a pillar and holding the victim’s wrists against that pillar.

Statements from the day-shift waitress and other tavern witnesses to the incident expand beyond Bentley’s account.

“(The witness) said Bentley had his hands around the juvenile’s throat and the juvenile was lifted off the ground,” the report states.

One witness said she ran to the pillar and yelled at Bentley to put the child down.

Crews transported the boy for a medical evaluation. The victim allegedly told medical staff Bentley “placed his hands around his throat and lifted him up,” according to the report.

The victim also informed medics of throat pain and sore arms.

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