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Phoenix leaders divided after Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams fires officers

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams
Posted at 9:35 PM, Oct 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 01:22:26-04

PHOENIX — Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams is under fire after terminating two officers involved in separate scandals.

Last week, Williams said she notified Officer Christopher Meyer of his termination after he was caught-on-camera pointing a gun and yelling profanities at an African American family during a traffic stop in May.

"The Disciplinary review board (DRB) recommended [Meyer] receive a six-week unpaid suspension, but the decision on discipline is mine,” said Chief Williams. “And after meeting with the officer Chris Meyer personally, and considering all the facts of the case, I have notified him of my intention to terminate his employment.”

She also said the same about Detective Dave Swick, who was investigated over insensitive social media posts that were revealed by the Plain View Project.

More Phoenix City leaders are now condemning the Chief's decisions.

Vice-Mayor Jim Waring and Councilwoman for District 1, Thelda Williams, both reached out to The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) this week, noting they strongly disagree with the terminations.

"I have supported Chief Jeri Williams through all the community action she has taken to listen to our residents," said Williams in an open letter addressed to PLEA President Michael "Britt" London. "However, I do not agree with her decision to terminate these officers. My support for the men and women of the Phoenix Police Department is unwavering."

Vice-Mayor Waring shared similar sentiments in an email to London: "I vehemently disagree with the decision to fire these two officers, and if I did have the ability to overturn this decision, I would," he said. "I am monitoring how these cases are being handled, and will not forget who is ultimately responsible."

Thursday, London published a video to PLEA's social media account discussing the demand for a vote of no-confidence to remove Chief Williams as department head. "We've heard it time and time again, the chief has lost the department," said London. "She's definitely lost PLEA members, a majority of them it seems."

Sean Mattson, President of Arizona's chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police says it still may be too early to discuss a vote of no confidence.

"No one single incident should lead to a vote of no confidence, it’s the person and how they have the effectiveness to lead overall.”

Meanwhile, officers Meyer and Swick have petitioned to be heard before a civil service board, in hopes of being reinstated. Mattson says they have a good chance of returning to the force.

“I’m sure there were mistakes made in both of those cases that you cite, but whether or not they need to be terminated I don’t think that they are going to end up staying terminated.”