US

Phoenix Police Officers Must Complete a Form Each Time They Point Their Gun at Someone

By Victor Westerkamp

The City of Phoenix and the Phoenix Police Department announced that police officers will now need to fill out a form each time they point their gun at someone.

During a press meeting on Monday, August 19, Mayor Kate Gallego and Police Chief Jeri Williams explained the new rules that include wearing a body-cam and partaking in an 8-hour class on mental health awareness when dealing with citizens.

The measurements were the result of a review completed by the National Police Foundation which was released in April and resulted in the recommendation of these policies, according to CNN. The new regulations took effect immediately on that same Monday.

“When a gun is pointed at someone, that’s a traumatic event,” Police Chief Jeri Williams said at a news conference, The Hill reported. “I think this is a first step in being … that accountable, transparent organization that is willing to share what we do and how we do it.”

“This will allow us to have a real idea of how many times our officers are able to successfully de-escalate a situation with the potential of deadly force,” Williams said, The Washington Post reported.

“Our community has … said that they want our police department to collect more data around the work they are doing in the field,” Mayor Kate Gallego said at Monday’s news conference, according to NBC. “We know that what you measure is what you focus on.”

Gallego said the city thinks the changes are “an important step for accountability and transparency,” she added.

Phoenix, Arizona’s capital city, in 2018 led the nation with 44 police shootings, according to The Post. The city’s annual average from 2009-2017 was 21 incidents.

The Phoenix Police Department was rocked in June, when a study revealed 97 Phoenix police officers or former police officers had posted comments on Facebook with offensive content.

Chicago, Dallas, Baltimore, Cleveland, and New Orleans also require officers to report each time they point a gun at someone.

Officials say the reforms are unrelated to police officers’ treatment of a black family on a parking lot outside a Family Dollar store on May 27, previously covered by Reuters.

Phoenix mayor apologizes after police pull gun on parents of alleged child shoplifter

Cellphone video shows a Phoenix officer drawing his weapon and shouting profanities after a father, mother, and two young daughters left a Family Dollar store on May 27. The parents were unaware one of their daughters took a doll without paying for it, according to the family. Police said they were made aware of the theft by store employees.

The footage, video-recorded by a bystander, shows 24-year-old Lesha Harper getting out of a car with her two daughters, London Drake, 1, and Island Drake, 4, holding one of the girls in her arms. One officer is shouting at Lesha, while another officer puts her 22-year-old fiance, Dravon Ames, in handcuffs.

Mayor Kate Gallego wrote on Twitter late Saturday that the incident, which sparked anger on social media, made her feel “sick.” She apologized to the family and noted that the city would speed up the rollout of body-worn cameras so that every police precinct is using them by August.

Thomas Horne, a lawyer representing the couple, said the family was willing to settle the case for $10 million.

Police have launched an internal investigation. They said the officers involved had been assigned to desk duty.

 

Reuters contributed to this articlePhoenix Police Officers Must Fill out a Form Each Time They Have Pointed a Gun at Someone