EDITORS’ PICKS

Phoenix police chief gives officers A+ for conduct during Trump rally protest

Aug 23, 2017, 1:21 PM | Updated: 1:23 pm
(KTAR Photo/Carter Nacke)...
(KTAR Photo/Carter Nacke)
(KTAR Photo/Carter Nacke)
LISTEN: Jeri Williams - Chief of Phoenix Police Department

PHOENIX — Police Chief Jeri Williams said she thought her officers did an outstanding job handling a large protest after President Donald Trump’s rally in Phoenix.

“I absolutely give my folks an A+,” Williams told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Wednesday.

“I’m so proud to be the police chief of men and women who literally showed that professionalism — under contentious scenarios and situations — they demonstrated it flawlessly.”

The chief credited the department’s preparation to deal with the large crowds as the reason things did not get too out of hand.

“I literally went and spoke to the officers who were going to be on the skirmish lines and shared with them my expectation: Be professional. The world is watching.”

The protests were mainly peaceful until the rally ended about 8:30 p.m. Over the next two hours, police used tear gas, pepper spray and smoke bombs to disperse large crowds, primarily in the area along Third Street between Van Buren and Monroe streets.

Four people were arrested.

Williams said her officers conducted themselves in a calculated manner and did not charge into protester groups, instead allowing them a chance to obey orders.

“They gave people opportunities to comply,” she said, adding that nonuniformed officers had moved through the crowd telling people what they were and were not allowed to do.

Despite being pleased with her officers, Williams said she ordered a full review of the event.

“We can always learn of what worked really well and then we can always learn what we could have tweaked or done a little bit differently,” she said.

The review was expected to take several weeks.

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News that the Phoenix Police Department led by example on Tuesday.

“You could not have asked for more under those dynamics,” he said. “Kudos to them.”

Trouble for Williams’s officers started when a fight broke out in the crowd of protesters. When officers urged the fighting to stop, someone threw an object.

“The crowd, or someone in the crowd, were throwing either gas at us or lighted devices at police who were forming a skirmish line,” she said.

The chief said her officers were planning to be out for hours monitoring a peaceful protest, but the plan changed when things began tilting toward violence.

“When people make the decision, the conscious choice, to throw rocks and/or bottles at law enforcement … we have to respond to the actions given to us,” she said.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Editors’ Picks

(AP Photo)...
Corbin Carson

The rocky history of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Arizona

Some of us will not be working on Monday as it is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but the holiday was not always recognized in Arizona.
3 years ago
(Screenshot)...
KTAR.com

More than 20 years later, mystery of Phoenix Lights still fascinates people

Wednesday marks the 22nd anniversary of one of the strangest things to ever happen in Arizona, the Phoenix Lights phenomenon.
3 years ago
(Facebook Photo)...
KTAR.com

Salud! Mark National Margarita Day at these Phoenix-area spots

Get ready for the excuse you needed on a Friday: It's National Margarita Day! Here are some great Phoenix-area spots to grab a drink with tequila.
4 years ago
(Facebook Photo)...
KTAR.com

Here are 5 Phoenix spots to find pancakes on National Pancake Day

We thought we would put together a list to give you some of the top flapjack places in Phoenix to eat at on National Pancake Day.
4 years ago
(AP Photo)...
KTAR.com

Before he was a senator, John McCain was a war hero and POW

Before U.S. Sen. John McCain went into politics, he was a young man flying fighter planes over Vietnam, where he was shot down and kept as a POW.
4 years ago
(AP Photo)...
KTAR.com

Arizona Sen. John McCain has died of brain cancer at the age of 81

John McCain, a senator and veteran known as "The Maverick," passed away in Arizona at the age of 81 on Saturday evening.
4 years ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Phoenix police chief gives officers A+ for conduct during Trump rally protest