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What's on his phone? Phoenix officer sues city to stop search in coin probe

Challenge coin
Posted at 7:43 PM, Aug 19, 2021

A police officer filed a lawsuit seeking to bar Phoenix from continuing its internal investigation of him for allegedly possessing a souvenir that depicted a protester getting shot in the groin outside a 2017 Trump rally.

POLITICALLY CHARGED: ABC15 investigates protest cases

Officer Christopher Turiano fired the pepper ball that struck the protester and was found in a separate inquiry to have possessed a rubber patch that portrayed the protester’s injury.

He has refused to turn over his cellphone data to internal investigators.

RELATED: Phoenix PD chief disciplined, others demoted after probes into gang charges and challenge coin

The investigation centers on “challenge coins” and patches circulated among officers to commemorate police operations. A city spokesman said employees are expected to cooperate in internal investigations.

In February, ABC15's "Politically Charged" investigation exposed the existence of the souvenirs. The station also discovered that the language on the coin, patches, and other similar memorabilia has ties to hate speech.

Turiano is also on the so-called "Brady list," a database of officers who have a history of dishonesty, past crimes, or other integrity concerns.

Turiano is on Phoenix's Tactical Response Unit, which has faced intense scrutiny for its role in falsely charging protesters as a criminal street gang.