Protestors arrested by Phoenix police talk about DOJ investigation into department

Protestors and community activists impacted by the Phoenix Police Department held a news conference online.

This comes after the brief one-day suspension of Chief Jeri Williams and the demotions of her top assistants, and just days after the city released findings by an outside law firm on potential collusion between the department and the county attorney's office.

The protestors who marched the streets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have all been arrested by Phoenix Police at some point. They say they were targeted and falsely charged because of political reasons.

Protestors arrested within the past year by Phoenix Police gathered virtually to speak about the impacts on their lives. Many say they now battle with PTSD and have nightmares over their experiences with officers.

Suvarna Ratnam and Amy Kaper marched the streets of downtown Phoenix on Oct. 17, 2020 with more than a dozen protestors, carrying umbrellas. They are two of the 15 adults arrested and later hit with criminal street gang charges.

During testimony to a grand jury, Sgt. Doug McBride compared the group of protestors known as "ACAB" to gangs like the Bloods and Crips.

The gang charges ended up dismissed. Now in the wake of the Department of Justice's decision to investigate Phoenix Police and the firm Ballard Spahr's report findings commissioned by the city of Phoenix, disciplinary action was taken.

Chief Williams was suspended for a day after apparently not knowing about the gang charges filed. Three of her assistant chiefs involved in that case were demoted.

Sgt. McBride is being investigated.

Protestors say those actions aren't close enough.

City Manager Ed Zuercher did ask the Arizona Attorney General's Office to investigate the Phoenix Police Department.

When the protestors and community leaders were asked what they thought about the request, one person said it would be useless for Mark Brnovich to investigate unless people directly impacted are a part of the process.

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