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President Trump Phoenix rally: 'Multiple videos' show protesters struck officers first, police say

PHX PD: Videos show protesters attack first
PHX PD: Videos show protesters attack first
Posted at 1:07 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 22:24:14-04

Phoenix police officials claim the department has multiple videos from multiple sources that show protesters after the president's rally last week threw objects at officers before force was deployed.

A spokesman confirmed the existence of the videos to ABC15 Monday morning.

“There is definitely video of people throwing things at the officers before any force was applied,” said Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Jonathan Howard.

Howard added, “multiple videos exist from a variety of angles,” and that the department is working to release the footage soon. 

The police department’s use of force after President Donald Trump’s rally on Tuesday has drawn criticism from civil rights leaders, protesters, street medics, and some public officials.

The ACLU of Arizona also told ABC15 it is reviewing footage of the police response.

In a Thursday tweet, ACLU Arizona attorney Will Ganoa wrote, “Hundreds, if not thousands, of people were exposed to chemical agents that night. Important to keep in mind when examining PPD's response.”

But Chief Jeri Williams immediately backed her officers’ actions.

In an interview with ABC15 the day after the protests, she said that people in the crowd first threw gas, rocks, bottles, and lighted devices.

Williams also said her department would be conducting a full internal administrative review.

On Monday, the City Manager’s Office announced it was moving forward with an independent review of the police response.

The review will be conducted by OIR Group, Inc. It is expected to last roughly three months and cost $45,000, said Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher. 

“Because it was so high profile, because there was so much video, and because there was so much commentary about it, I thought it was important to have an external review,” he said.

This story is developing. Stay with abc15.com for updates.