Phoenix City Council Rejects Petition To Create Police Civilian Review Board

By  Casey Kuhn
Published: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 7:05am
Updated: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 4:35pm

(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
September 12 city council meeting.

Weeks after President Donald Trump came to Phoenix, which led to disruptive protesting and police response, the City Council is still reacting to what happened.

The Phoenix City Council voted last night to deny a petition to create a civilian oversight board for the police department.

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After rally protests became disruptive, Phoenix police used tear gas and pepper balls to repel the crowds.

Two weeks ago, vocal protesters took over a City Council meeting to question those police actions. The outcry led city officials to remove a proposal for an independent review of officers that night, saying it would be seen as non-objective.

Tuesday night, the council faced a much smaller crowd, most supporting the officers.

Members discussed a petition to create a civilian review board over police.

Reginald Walton spoke in favor of the committee, saying it wasn’t anti-law enforcement.

“We are not attacking the police in asking for a civilian review board," Walton said. "However, we are critical. You can be critical of something and love it.”

Ken Crane is with the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, and said board would be redundant because officers are already punished after misconduct.

“And it’s hard to look someone in the eye and say ‘You crossed the line a little too far. You need to move on.’ And we have done that because we don’t want people in the ranks who don’t deserve to be here any more than a citizen doesn’t want them here," Crane said.

Council members and city officials spoke about several other review boards that include citizens.

Mayor Greg Stanton said the current open meetings with police, through the Community and Police Trust Initiative (CPTI) should help create policy rather than a new advisory board.

"We're going through the CPTI process right now," he said. "I look forward to any recommendations by our assistant city manager and our police chief at the conclusion of those hearings about any policy recommendations. So I don't think it's appropriate to circumvent that process at this time."

The vote was 8-1 to deny the petition.

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