PHOENIX — As community groups organize a recall effort, Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel is facing even more criticism following an interview with ABC15 last week about her office’s role in falsely charging dozens of police protesters.
At the end of the short interview, Adel asked ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing if he would be willing to work with MCAO to teach people how to “protest peacefully.”
Critics were shocked at the request.
“That says a lot about who she is. It says a lot about who she is as an elected official,” said Bruce Franks Jr., an activist who was arrested and charged by police and prosecutors last year. “And that’s a true politician: The deflecting, the disregard, the disrespect. That’s exactly what that is.”
Adel’s request to ABC15 came after Biscobing asked why MCAO was limiting the interview to 10 minutes.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office colluded w/ Phoenix PD to invent a gang to charge protesters.@ABC15 exposed the corruption in Feb. MCAO ordered an outside probe.— Dave Biscobing (@DaveBiscobing15) September 24, 2021
Finally, today, I got a 10-minute interview.
This is what happened after we were told no more questions. pic.twitter.com/VMuJN9Ujhk
The Arizona Republic also published an editorial Monday about the county attorney’s comments.
The headline: “Is Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel clueless, tone deaf or think we're fools?”
The columnist wrote it’s likely all of the above.
“Adel apparently still believes she has the moral authority to teach residents how to ‘peacefully protest’ because they – not her or her prosecutors – are the real problem here,” according to the editorial.
ABC15’s Politically Charged investigation exposed how MCAO and Phoenix police colluded to invent a fictional gang and claim protesters were members.
Adel declined ABC15’s repeated interviews throughout the year, citing an ongoing outside investigation she ordered in response to the news reports.
During last week’s interview, she declined to answer fact-based questions because the protesters have filed a lawsuit against her office.
Adel’s responses during ABC15’s interview and her request also bothered Julie Erfle, a communications consultant whose husband (a Phoenix officer) died in the line of duty.
Erfle was interviewed on KJZZ’s Friday Newscap and said it’s clear Adel and her office still don’t understand the significance of what happened.
“The issue wasn’t that folks weren’t protesting peacefully. The issue was this was a made-up gang and made-up charges, and they were being politically prosecuted. That’s the point,” Erfle said. “I really don’t think that Allister Adel or her office has taken these things seriously enough or that they’ve been held accountable for these things. It sounds like they’re still trying to make excuses.”