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Phoenix orders another review into police department's protest response

Phoenix Police
Posted at 4:10 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 18:21:19-04

PHOENIX — The City of Phoenix has hired an outside consulting company to review how its police department responded to protests and demonstrations.

The review is the fourth outside probe launched after ABC15’s “Politically Charged” series, which has exposed serious problems with the way police and prosecutors have handled protest cases.

The city council approved a six-month contract for 21CP Solutions to conduct the outside assessment.

The goal: “Develop a detailed report of findings and recommendations for a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) that addresses both the Phoenix Police Department's response to First Amendment-related activities,” according to a briefing report provided to the council.

The company will also assess the department’s Field Training Officer program.

ABC15 exposed police and prosecutors have exaggerated and lied to grand juries to obtain felony cases against protesters, including charging a group of demonstrators as a criminal street gang.

The station also exposed officers on the protest response team had shared and sold a challenge coin that depicted violence against a protester.

The coin also has language tied to hate speech.

Following news about the coin, the city hired law firm Ballard Spahr to investigate. The firm’s investigation was then expanded to include issues surrounding the gang charges following more ABC15 reports.

At a recent council meeting, City Manager Ed Zuercher the coin and gang charges are now separate investigations being handled by Ballard Spahr.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office also launched an outside review of their charging decisions in the protest cases.

Officials have not released estimated completion dates for any of the four outside cases.

Editor’s note: This report is part of an ongoing series of ABC15 investigative reports called “Politically Charged.” The series can be found at Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at