Phoenix City Officials Condemn Police 'Challenge Coin' Issued In Wake Of Protest

By Ron Dungan
Published: Tuesday, February 9, 2021 - 9:05am
Updated: Monday, March 22, 2021 - 12:26pm

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Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher said in a statement that he has told the City Attorney’s Office to investigate reports that police officers issued commemorative coins for the shooting of protesters.

The coins have been condemned as a hate message, which brought a swift response from Zuercher and Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams.

City Councilmember Carlos Garcia said the city needs more accountability and transparency in the police department.

"Last year we had an officer threaten the mayor’s life, now we’re seeing Nazi symbolism within our ranks," Garcia said. "I think it’s time to shift what we’ve been doing and stand up to the police unions and really shift some policy."

He said he has been asked if a change of leadership is in order but said that won't get at the root of the problem.

"We can continue to cycle chiefs in and out," he said, "but I think the important thing is to actually change the system to hold these police officers accountable. We’ve seen chiefs in the past leave the department because they weren’t able to fire someone."

The coins were issued following a protest in 2017, when an officer shot a protester in the groin with a pepper ball.

Phoenix Police challenge coins
"Challenge coins" allegedly created by a team of Phoenix Police officers to commemorate injuring a protester.

Social Justice