Maricopa County attorney seeks outside review of gang charges filed vs Phoenix protesters

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has retained a former judge to provide an outside review of events surrounding the charging of individuals as members of a criminal street gang last October.

The review by retired Superior Court Judge Roland Steinle follows prosecutors previously moving to dismiss the charges against 16 people accused of crimes that included assisting or participating in a criminal street gang.

The 16 were arrested at an Oct. 17 downtown Phoenix protest against police brutality.

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

County Attorney Allister Adel said in a statement on Feb. 22 that she wants Steinle to review 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. 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," read a portion of Adel's statement.

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