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New Phoenix police report contradicts body camera footage

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Posted at 5:46 PM, Mar 02, 2021

PHOENIX — After a prosecutor’s request to explain why a bystander was arrested following a protest and charged as a gang member, Phoenix police filed a new report with statements that are clearly contradicted by body camera footage.

The incoherent supplement continues to raise doubts about whether the Phoenix Police Department can truthfully and accurately review the protest cases brought by its officers.

The report states an officer did not point out an innocent man for arrest when the video shows he did multiple times.

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The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office dismissed charges against a group of protesters charged as a criminal street gang following an ABC15 investigation that exposed the case was built on exaggerations and lies.

But the charges against the group were largely dismissed without prejudice, which means new ones can be refiled.

County Attorney Allister Adel said she would send the case back for further investigation by Phoenix police even though the department has more than a dozen officers involved in the case under outside investigation and her own prosecutors have been reassigned during a separate misconduct probe.

ABC15 learned prosecutors asked Phoenix for more information surrounding the arrest of Ryder Collins after a protest on October 17, 2020.

Body camera video shows Sgt. James Groat pointing at Ryder Collins multiple times and saying, “That guy right there is one of their legal observers. So he’s going to end up going (to jail) too.”

Detective Adem Legere filed a new report about Collins’ arrest on February 19.

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Legere wrote he was asked to clarify with Sgt. James Groat about the body camera footage and who he was “contacting” in the incident.

The report doesn’t answer that question.

Despite the body camera video, Legere wrote, “Groat did not point to Ryder Collins.”

Instead, Legere stated that Groat was advising that a different guy with a backpack in the crowd was a legal observer. Although, that person was never identified or arrested at the scene and there’s no other man with a backpack within hundreds of feet of Collins.

Legere’s supplement is unclear and confusing. It discusses another man with a backpack that Groat saw 30 minutes before Collins was arrested. But that doesn’t answer why Collins was targeted for arrest.

ABC15 reached out to Phoenix police to ask for an explanation regarding the report and who they’re claiming Groat pointed at.

In an email, a spokesperson said, “The events surrounding the October 17, 2020 case are being investigated by Ballard Spahr. As such, we are unable to provide additional information.”

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