City Attorney to investigate alleged Phoenix police challenge coin

Feb 7, 2021, 7:00 AM | Updated: 3:42 pm
In this June 18, 2019, file photo, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams addresses the audience at a c...
In this June 18, 2019, file photo, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams addresses the audience at a community meeting in Phoenix. Williams joined protesters in triple-digit weather in Phoenix, Friday, June 5, 2020, telling them she is listening and will continue to work with them. She joined a march from City Hall to the police department's headquarters. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Manager has instructed the City Attorney to launch an outside investigation into claims of a challenge coin with inappropriate messaging and imagery being circulated among Phoenix police officers.

First reported by ABC 15, the coins show a man being shot in the groin on the front and have the date of an August 2017 protest on the back.

Police Chief Jeri Williams in a statement said the department would take disciplinary action against officers involved in illegal or unethical behavior.

“This is unacceptable and not in line with the behavior expected of my officers,” Williams said. “I not only expect more but demand more from my officers.

“Hate speech in any form is unacceptable and even more so from officers who we rightfully hold to the highest standards of excellence. It will not be tolerated. We will take disciplinary action against officers involved in any illegal or unethical behavior.”

City Manager Ed Zuercher echoed Williams.

“We must have an independent look at these disturbing allegations so we can take appropriate action,” Zuercher said.

The protest formed following a visit from then-President Donald Trump and a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center.

Police said people started throwing rocks and bottles at officers. Law enforcement responded with pepper balls, pepper spray and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Williams said at the time that tens of thousands of people were outside protesting in the downtown Phoenix area.

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City Attorney to investigate alleged Phoenix police challenge coin