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ACLU of Arizona sues Phoenix police for failure to release records about Trump protest

Posted at 3:10 PM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 21:08:50-05

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Phoenix Police Department over the agency's refusal to release public records regarding the protests of President Donald Trump's rally in August.

Thousands of people gathered downtown to express themselves with signs, themed shirts and chants. Phoenix Fire treated more than 20 people for heat-related issues, but there were no significant issues ahead of the rally beyond a few arguments between people.   

After Trump finished speaking, Phoenix police said people outside the Convention Center began throwing rocks and bottles at officers. Police then responded with riot gear, pepper spray and pepper balls. 

"The ACLU of Arizona received many, many complaints from people who witnessed and suffered from the Phoenix Police Department's extreme tactics against peaceful protesters," said ACLU of Arizona Legal Director Kathy Brody. "The department failed to protect the First Amendment rights of demonstrators that night. Now, the public deserves to see the critical records documenting the Phoenix Police Department's actions."

ACLU officials are asking for video recordings of the rally and protests taken or obtained by the Phoenix Police Department, as well as Phoenix Police Department communications, training materials, reports, weapons inventories, and policies related to officers' actions at the protest.

The Phoenix Police Department released the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

"The Phoenix Police Department's Professional Standards Bureau is continuing to review and process an immense amount of records related to events surrounding President Trump's visit in August.  It has always been our intention to release the review and associated records as quickly as possible.  We anticipate the review will be completed within the coming weeks.  Unfortunately, we are not able to provide specific comments on pending lawsuits. "