A woman has appealed the verdict in a federal lawsuit against Phoenix police and a former officer accused of sexually assaulting her during a traffic stop.
The City of Phoenix and former officer Anthony Armour won the trial against Jeanna Anderson in late October.
Anderson’s attorneys said the case was “grossly inequitable” and the judge erred by not allowing the jury to hear that Armour is a documented liar on the “Brady list” and has been accused of sex assault by other women, including a fellow Phoenix officer, according to newly filed arguments to request a new trial.
In surprise testimony on the stand, Armour also said he recorded portions of Anderson’s traffic stop — and the stops of other women — but never entered the recordings into evidence or disclosed them before trial.
Anderson’s attorneys argue in their appeal that they weren’t allowed to fully question Armour about disposing of those recordings or inform the jury about the potential violations of policy and law.
“Defendant Anthony Armour lobbed a hand grenade into the plaintiff’s case… Left with the unremedied impression that Officer Armour had done nothing wrong in destroying highly-relevant evidence, the jury returned a full defense verdict against Ms. Anderson,” wrote Stephen Benedetto, one of her attorneys.
Phoenix’s outside attorneys have several weeks to file their response to the appeal.
The city’s attorneys have not responded to multiple requests for comment on matters related to Armour and the two lawsuits against him. But in court, they repeatedly called Anderson a liar and challenged her version of events.
During a traffic stop in October 2015, Anderson said that Armour groped and fondled her. Over the years, she has sometimes said he grabbed her breast first then touched her privates. Other times, she has reversed the order.
Independent experts, advocates, and investigators said that survivors can often recall events of their sex assaults out of order.
“We don’t remember the order of things very well, especially in things where we were very emotional,” said Dr. Jim Hopper, a clinical psychologist and sexual trauma expert. “The neurobiology of stress and trauma can make it particularly hard to remember the sequence of things.”
Armour was not wearing a body camera.
Phoenix police, who cleared Armour of any misconduct in the case, also never obtained surveillance video from nearby businesses or documented and interviewed witnesses in the area, records show.
Within two weeks of the verdict, they city’s attorneys also filed a series of motions to make Anderson pay more than $270,000 in legal fees and costs.
Phoenix was willing to dismiss the motions if Anderson dropped the appeal, a city spokesperson confirmed to ABC15.
“It’s because they’re afraid,” said Abby Dennison, a former Phoenix officer, who also accused Armour of sex assault in 2010 and was willing to testify on Anderson’s behalf. “(Phoenix) knows there’s teeth to this appeal. It needs to stop. The message that sends to every person inside the City of Phoenix is don’t stand up and allege misconduct and speak up to what happened to you; because you’re going to lose in court, and we’re going to make you pay for it.”
Federal judge John Tuchi approved the city’s pre-trial motion to block Dennison from testifying.
Tuchi said he found Dennison’s account to “ring of credibility.” But he ruled that Dennison’s allegations weren’t similar enough and didn’t pass a multi-layer legal test for her testimony to be admissible.
Dennison, who left the department in 2015, declined to pursue prosecution of Armour in 2010 after she said she felt pressured by a Phoenix leaders while sitting in the hospital to get a dislodged tampon removed following her alleged sex assault.
“It was hard,” Dennison said in an interview with ABC15. “’I’ve carried with me the weight and the guilt of not pressing charges 10 years ago and wondered: If I had pressed charges, if I had sad yes, and kept that yes that he wouldn’t have been an officer anymore. He wouldn’t have been able to do the things he did to these other people.”
After seeing how Phoenix treated Anderson, Dennison decided to publicly tell her story and sought a new investigation in 2020 by an outside agency.
But Phoenix police pushed back and handled the new investigation. Investigators closed the case in March and declined to submit charges.
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at Dave@abc15.com.