Activists say Phoenix police were aggressive after Donald Trump rally

Activists: Phoenix PD was violent during protest
Posted at 1:40 PM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-24 01:29:59-04

Arizona activists say police acted aggressively and violently during a mostly peaceful protest on Tuesday that got rowdy after a President Donald Trump rally ended in downtown Phoenix.

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The immigrant and civil rights groups said during a news conference on Wednesday that they've filed a complaint and are seeking answers as to why police acted with such force.

Phoenix police leaders say the department appropriately used gas and pepper spray to disperse protesters after officers were struck with items thrown by some protesters.

Antonio Bustamante, a local attorney who observed the protests yesterday, said a small group of men threw water bottles at officers. He said police then fired tear gas. Bustamante denied that anyone in the crowd threw gas canisters at police.

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The groups say they plan on speaking out against police actions at the next city council meeting.

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego is calling for a thorough review of circumstances surrounding police actions during protests related to President Donald Trump's Tuesday evening rally in downtown Phoenix.

Gallego's call for "a full and transparent investigation" came after Police Department officials said officers used tear gas, smoke, pepper balls and pepper spray to disperse a crowd that remained near the Phoenix Convention Center after the rally ended.

Police Chief Jeri Williams said Tuesday night somebody had tossed gas at officers, and a Police Department statement released Wednesday by Sgt. Jonathan Howard said the police action was prompted by someone in the crowd dispersing gas first.

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Gallego is also calling for the city to hold a community meeting to provide a detailed account of what happened. He says protest organizers worked hard to maintain peace and order.