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Phoenix city manager, PD chief call for investigation after ABC15 report on protest shooting trophy

Challenge coin
Posted at 7:54 PM, Feb 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-07 17:19:16-05

PHOENIX — Phoenix's city manager and chief of police are calling for an outside investigation after an ABC15 report exposed a commemorative coin shared and sold between a team of officers to celebrate shooting a protester in the groin in 2017.

The “challenge coins” clearly depict the man being shot on the front and have the date of the protest on the back. The coins also have the following two phrases: “GOOD NIGHT LEFT NUT” and “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN ONE NUT AT A TIME.”

Following the Friday airing of our report, investigator Dave Biscobing exposed that the coin's messaging has been tied to hate speech.

FULL INVESTIGATION: See ABC15's series on Phoenix protest arrests

“Hate speech in any form is unacceptable and even more so from officers who we rightfully hold to the highest standards of excellence,” said Chief Jeri Williams. “It will not be tolerated. We will take disciplinary action against officers involved in any illegal or unethical behavior.”

Records show Chief Williams was made aware of the coins more than a year ago, but no officers were disciplined. In response to an earlier request for any documents and actions related to the coin, Phoenix police responded by saying there are none.

“Working together with Chief Williams, I have instructed the City Attorney’s office to begin the process of outside investigation,” said City Manager Ed Zuercher. “We do not accept hate speech at the city of Phoenix. It is unacceptable and we must have an independent look at these disturbing allegations so we can take appropriate action.”

The protest in question occurred on August 22, 2017, following President Donald Trump’s visit to the Phoenix Convention Center.

Joshua Cobin became the iconic and lasting memory of that night when video showed him kicking a gas canister away toward the police line, then seconds later being shot in the groin with what's called a pepper ball.

Until sitting for an interview with ABC15, Cobin had not seen the challenge coin.

“Honestly, it’s pretty unprofessional that Phoenix police would commemorate that,” he said.