Message To Phoenix City Council: 'Support Our Police Officers'
One week after people packed Phoenix City Council chambers to criticize the actions of some police officers, city leaders heard from people supporting officers.
A bystander’s video showing Phoenix police cursing and pointing guns at a family suspected of shoplifting led to an apology from Chief Jeri Williams, a community wide listening session and a promise from Mayor Kate Gallego to consider community input and return with recommendations. While many have said they want the officers involved in the viral video to be fired, that wasn’t the main message during Wednesday’s council meeting.
“This is a war on police,” Nohl Rosen told council members.
A woman who described herself as an operator and dispatcher for the Phoenix Police Department said, “We just really need to support our police officers.”
A handful of people addressed the council while more stayed in their seats, sometimes cheering. Police supporters especially liked Councilman Sal DiCiccio’s demand that he be able to track communication between the police department and city management regarding the officers in the video.
“I want that all documented,” he said to applause. “I want to know what’s going to happen to those police officers and I believe there’s a lot of pressure being put on you and I understand it and I understand the city’s worried that something bad’s going to happen in our city. You do not sacrifice one person for any reason.”
Addressing the police department’s administration teams, Di Ciccio said if the officers did something wrong then, “you got to go after them because that’s your responsibility, but you’re not going to do it for political reasons, and I want it all documented.”
Joe Clure, the former president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA), the union representing officers, left his business card for Councilmember Carlos Garcia who has been critical of police and campaigned for more accountability. A city hall outsider, Garcia was elected in May to represent District 8 which includes parts of east Phoenix, downtown, south Phoenix and Laveen.
“If you really have an intent to try to fix things then sit down and talk with the boots on the ground and let’s find out how to do that,” Clure said. “But let’s stop the rhetoric and the insulting insinuation that police officers are murderers because they’re not.”
After the meeting, Garcia told KJZZ he would be willing to meet with Clure and current representatives of PLEA.
Next week, the council will meet to discuss options for a civilian review board and whether to pursue investing in an early intervention system to identify concerns and offer support to officers under stress or at risk of misconduct.