Maricopa County’s Adel announces review of protesters with gang charges

Feb 22, 2021, 6:18 PM | Updated: Feb 23, 2021, 5:32 am

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel (AP File Photo)...

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel (AP File Photo)

(AP File Photo)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel announced Monday an outside review will take place of cases charging protesters as members of a criminal street gang.

The review follows prosecutors previously “in the interest of justice” moving to dismiss the charges against 16 people accused of crimes that included assisting or participating in a criminal street gang after being arrested at an Oct. 17 protest against police brutality in downtown Phoenix.

Prosecutors requested dismissal without prejudice, which would allow charges to be refiled.

Adel is retaining retired Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle to provide an outside review of the events surrounding the charges, and the procedures in place when making charging decisions in cases of community interest or those that have possible impacts to policy.

“As County Attorney, I am committed to ensuring that this office adheres to the highest standards,” Adel said in a statement. “Procedures are in place to help ensure these standards are reflected in the more than 30,000 cases we file each year. I understand that each case impacts a community of individuals, including the defendant, victims, family members, employers, and others.

“In this particular matter, I believe that we could have done better to meet these standards.”

The review follows investigative reports by ABC 15 on the gang charges and circumstances related to the handling of other protests.

The Arizona gang law allegedly violated by the protesters includes indicators such as wearing of uniforms and proclaiming gang membership, according to the report by ABC 15, and police contended the protesters met those criteria by wearing black clothes, carrying umbrellas and chanting a slogan critical of police.

A police sergeant and a prosecutor compared the protesters to gangs such as the Crips, Bloods and Hell’s Angels, according to ABC 15.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and others said the charges against the protesters were an abusive political prosecution intended to silence dissent and scare protesters.

Adel has also asked Steinle to provide recommendations to improve processes of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and review if there was any possible ethical violations related to the prosecution of the protestors’ cases.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

The Kaibab National Forest will implement Stage 2 fire restrictions beginning on Friday....

Kaibab National Forest to begin Stage 2 fire restrictions on Friday

The Kaibab National Forest will implement Stage 2 fire restrictions beginning on Friday.

3 hours ago

A motorcyclist died as a result of a three-car crash in Peoria on June 17, 2024. (AP File Photo/Mat...

Motorcyclist dead after 3-car crash in Peoria

A motorcyclist died as a result of a three-car crash in Peoria on Monday afternoon, authorities said.

4 hours ago

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed the 2025 fiscal year budget on June 18, 2024. (Photo by Rebecca Nob...

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs $16.1 billion budget for 2025 fiscal year

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed the fiscal year 2025 budget Tuesday that erases a $1.4 billion shortfall by curbing spending on higher education and more.

6 hours ago

Republican Cochise County Supervisors Tom Crosby, left, and Peggy Judd, right, face election interf...

Judge rules election interference cases to continue for 2 Arizona county officials

A Maricopa County judge denied motions Tuesday by two Arizona county officials to dismiss their cases on potential election interference from 2022.

8 hours ago

Bash & Pop performs during the last Viva PHX in 2017. The downtown Phoenix music festival is return...

Kevin Stone

Viva PHX, a multivenue music festival in downtown Phoenix, returning after 7-year hiatus

Viva PHX, a multivenue downtown Phoenix music festival, is rising from the ashes in 2024 after a seven-year hiatus.

10 hours ago

File photos of lawyers Boris Epshteyn, left, and Jenna Ellis, who entered not guilty pleas in Arizo...

Associated Press

Last 3 defendants — Epshteyn, Ellis, Lamon — enter pleas in Arizona’s fake elector case

After the last three arraignments on Tuesday, all 18 defendants in the Arizona fake elector case have now pleaded not guilty.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Maricopa County’s Adel announces review of protesters with gang charges