Law enforcement association officials say use of force in 2015 incident was justified

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) is challenging a decision made by Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams. And it's a decision they say will put officers at risk.

"Jeri Williams is more concerned about her own career, ger own perception from the media and the public then standing up and saying, 'my officer did what is expected of them,'" said Justin Harris, President of the Arizona Police Association.

In December 2015, a Phoenix Police officer was involved in a deadly shooting. According to police, the suspect was throwing rocks and bricks at police cars and the front door of a police precinct. When officers tried to talk to him, he threw a rock at them, and that's when the officer opened fire.

The officer was cleared of criminal wrongdoing, but a Use of Force Board said the actions were considered "Out of Policy", a decision that was upheld bt Chief Williams.

"The chief sent PLEA an email on July 28 and stated, quote, while your discussion was compelling, I do believe your officer could have chosen to move out of the path of the river rock and cinder blocks thrown at him by the suspect," said Ken Crane, president of PLEA.

Crane says the officer was about 39 feet away from the suspect. If the rock, which could be lethal, was thrown at 30 miles per hour, that would give the officer less than a second to react.

"Knowing this, the chief believes that an officer in a kneeling position with less than 1 second to react should simply quote just move out of the way."

Crane says William's was planning to have an outside agency do an independent review of the case.
When someone has been found "Out of Policy", they must go in front of the Disciplinary Review Board.

According to Crane, that hasn't happened for this officer, as of yet.

Meanwhile, Chief Williams released a statement, in which she reaffirmed her support for police review boards. In the statement, Williams wrote: