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Phoenix council rejects petition for civilian-staffed police review board

(KTAR Photo/Carter Nacke)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council rejected Tuesday a petition that would have created an oversight board for the city’s police department staffed by civilians.

The measured failed by an 8-1 vote after about an hour of public comments.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who voted against the measure, said the idea was nothing more than a witch hunt spurred by last month’s protest outside President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in downtown Phoenix.

“This was a witch hunt, pure and simple,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “The hunt is over.

“Our officers performed brilliantly that night under tremendous duress. [Tuesday], the council demonstrated our faith in Chief (Jeri) Williams and our incredible men and women in blue.”

DiCiccio had called for people to show up to Tuesday’s meeting and voice their support for police and denounce the idea of the civilian oversight board.

“Leftist radical groups pushing their anti-police proposal are coming to the city council meeting,” he wrote in a different post. “Watch the mayor/council push a watered down version to save their political careers.”

DiCiccio introduced a countermeasure during the meeting that would have ended what he called the “targeting of police officers.”

“The protesters pushing this initiative don’t want the police to be able to do their job,” he wrote. “We have to stand up and put a stop to this.”

Phoenix was in the national spotlight after police used teargas and pepper spray to disperse crowds after Trump’s rally.

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) called for an investigation into the protest.

Williams gave her officers an A+ rating for their conduct during the event, but said her department would review it to see what could be learned.

An attempt to launch an independent investigation was later quashed by the Phoenix City Council.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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