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Phoenix set to release investigations into botched protest cases, challenge coin

Challenge coin
Posted at 9:58 AM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-05 12:58:14-04

PHOENIX — A pair of outside investigations ordered by the City of Phoenix in response to ABC15’s reporting on police protest cases is finished and will be released publicly next week.

City Manager Ed Zuercher hired Ballard Spahr to conduct two separate probes in February.

The first one investigated a controversial challenge coin owned and shared by Phoenix’s protest response team and other officers. The second investigation was launched to review the department’s role in falsely charging a group of police protesters as a criminal street gang.

As part of its ongoing Politically Charged investigation, ABC15 has been regularly requesting updates on the status of the outside investigations.

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“Since you’ve been following up each week, I wanted to give you an update I just received. Ballard Spahr provided the finalized reports to the City’s legal team last night,” Phoenix Communication Director Dan Wilson told ABC15 Thursday. “The City Manager will be discussing them with Mayor and council members. They will be released publicly next week.”

Phoenix has also hired an outside consulting firm to review its policies and procedures for handling protests. It is still ongoing.

In addition to Phoenix, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office ordered its own outside investigation into prosecutors’ role in the gang charges.

MCAO officials said they do not have an estimate for when their investigation will be completed.

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at Dave@ABC15.com.