Former Phoenix Police assistant chief: Assaulting officers won’t end well regardless of age

Feb 2, 2022, 4:38 PM | Updated: 6:35 pm
(Phoenix Police screenshot)...
(Phoenix Police screenshot)
(Phoenix Police screenshot)

PHOENIX — The former assistant chief of the Phoenix Police Department said people who get aggressive with officers are asking for trouble regardless of the age of the individual.

A 13-year-old girl and an officer exchanged punches while police were taking suspects of a car theft into custody at an apartment complex near 59th Avenue and McDowell Road at about 4:30 p.m. Monday, the Phoenix Police Department said in a press release.

“I can assure you if you strike a police officer that is not going to end well for you no matter how old you are,” Andy Anderson told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad on Wednesday.

The minor was arrested for assault on an officer, with Phoenix Police releasing a video (WARNING: Explicit language) of the incident on Tuesday in response to clips of the fight circulating on social media.

Anderson said officers in that situation are making split-second decisions in very difficult times.

“You don’t know how old she is, you don’t have time to evaluate that or take that into consideration,” Anderson said, adding the girl was the size of an adult. “What you are doing is trying to stabilize the situation and you have somebody that is out of control who’s just going to make this worse.”

Anderson said it was clear officers in the video were asking a group of people filming the incident to step back.

He pleads with the community to work with officers to make safer communities.

“Safe communities become safe because of cooperation between our community and our police,” he said. “They have to work together, it’s not a one-sided situation. It’s not the police against the world, it’s the police working in concert with our community to create safe neighborhoods.”

The teen was booked into the Juvenile Correction Center after being evaluated for minor injuries, police said, and an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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Former Phoenix Police assistant chief: Assaulting officers won’t end well regardless of age