PHOENIX (KSAZ) - On Wednesday, activist groups denounced Phoenix Police Department's actions on Tuesday night following President Donald Trump's rally, calling officers "aggressive" and "violent".
Police did deploy tear gas, pepper spray, and pepper balls on the crowd, after rocks and bottles had been thrown at officers. Activists said the use of such force was unnecessary, when protestors were mostly peaceful.
Phoenix's Police Chief, however, pointed out that officers used non-lethal force against the crowd, only after commands to disperse were ignored, and objects like bottles and rocks were thrown at them.
The incident that led to the use of force reportedly involved a small group, in a crowd of more than 10,000 people. After the objects were thrown, the front line reportedly moved forward. As the crowd resists, pepper spray was deployed.
"We were terrorized," said Carlos Garcia with Puente Human Rights Movement. "We were attacked by the Phoenix Police Department. They came in as if this was a war zone."
As people's eyes and faces began to burn, the crowd starts to disperse. On Wednesday, several activist groups came together to denounce the department and demand an explanation.
"We're condemning the actions of this police department," said Fancisca Porchas with Puente Human Rights Movement. "They shot at children, at elderly, at sick people, at poor people, of all the people that came together."
Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, however, sees the incident in a different light.
She is applauding her officers.
No shots were fired, no one was seriously hurt, no reports of major damage.
"The officers didn't rush into the crowd," said Williams. "They were clear, methodical, they were calculated, they worked hard to give the crowd the opportunity to self disperse, and many people chose not to do that."
At the end of the day, everyone went home or went to jail. Four people were arrested.
"It was never anyone's intent to hurt anyone in the crowd," said Williams. "What we were trying to do is get a hold of a situation that could've become extremely volatile, extremely violent, and to be honest with you, I think the men and women on that line that night did an exceptional job."
Williams said an administrative board is performing a complete review of Tuesday night's events, looking at whether the tactics used by officers were justified. That review will take months to complete, and will be made available to the public.