City Manager Takes Action on Gang Charge & Challenge Coin Investigations https://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/city-manager/2021City Manager8/24/2021 6:00:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/2021/_Newsroom_PoliceDrivingC.jpgCity Manager Takes Action on Gang Charge & Challenge Coin Investigations <div class="ExternalClass8E3A0C8460B64D1197A764CB7A573605"><html> <p><em>Originally published on August 12, 2021.</em>​​</p><p>City Manager Ed Zuercher released the results of two independent investigations involving the Phoenix Police Department and the steps underway to address the findings.<br><br>The investigations, conducted by Ballard Spahr LLP, provide an in-depth, extensive review on behalf of the City Manager's Office into two high-profile cases--criminal street gang charges filed against a group of protestors in downtown Phoenix and the challenge coin tied to 2017 protests.<br><br>Summaries of the two cases are included below. You can read the full investigation into the <a target="_blank" href="/citymanagersite/Documents/Gang-Related-Summary-Report-08-12-2021.pdf">gang-related charges (PDF)</a> and the <a target="_blank" href="/citymanagersite/Documents/Challenge-Coin-Summary-Report-08-12-2021.pdf">challenge coin (PDF)</a> along with <a target="_blank" href="/citymanagersite/Documents/Immediate-Action-Required-Response-08-11-2021.pdf">memos outlining action taken (PDF)</a> in response by City Manager Ed Zuercher and Police Chief Jeri Williams in the linked PDFs.​<br><br></p> <h2>Gang Charges<br></h2> <p>While the investigation makes it clear Chief Jeri Williams was not made aware of the decision to charge the protestors as a gang, other members of her executive staff were made aware. As a result, the Chief is making changes to her executive team, removing three assistant chiefs from their roles in her office and reassigning them as commanders. A police sergeant at the center of the report has been placed on administrative leave pending criminal and administrative investigations. The City Manager also disciplined the Chief with a one-day suspension in accordance with city policy. <br><br>The City Manager is also requesting the Arizona Attorney General's Office conduct a criminal and administrative investigation into other employees involved in this case. Disciplinary action will be determined based on the results of that investigation.<br><br>Chief Williams also outlined additional policies and procedures that will be put in place in response to the findings of this investigation, such as drafting new policies or strengthening those related to gang charging protocols, protection of First Amendment rights of protestors, oversight of the relationship between police and prosecutors, and elevating decision-making on important police and community issues to the Chief without the option to delegate that assignment. <br><br>This investigation focused on the October 17, 2020 arrest of 15 people who were later indicted by a Grand Jury for assisting with a criminal street gang. The Ballard Spahr investigation found the decision to charge the protestors as a gang was made collaboratively between some personnel at the Phoenix Police Department and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. It also found those involved “consciously avoided" including the Gang Enforcement Unit (GEU) in an attempt to “sideline those deemed likely to object to charging the protestors as members of a criminal street gang."<br> <br></p> <h2>Challenge Coin<br></h2> <p>The challenge coin case relates to memorabilia circulated among Phoenix Police officers depicting a man being shot in the groin with a pepper ball during an August 2017 protest of then-President Trump's visit to Phoenix.<br><br>The coin also had the phrase “Making America Great Again One Nut at A Time" which the investigation found officers knowingly associated with President Trump's political campaign. However, there is no evidence that any officers knew of the hate speech ties to the coin's second phrase, “Good Night Left Nut." <br><br>While the investigation could not determine the creator of the image since it appeared in multiple social media locations the day after the protest, and no city funds were used to purchase the coins, investigators did find that some challenge coins were exchanged or purchased while on city property and on city time. It also found supervisors gave the coin as gifts to subordinates.<br><br>In response to the challenge coin investigation, the City Manager has issued a written reprimand for Chief Williams for lapses in executive leadership. <br><br>Zuercher also instructed Williams to write new policies or strengthen existing policies related to hate speech, disparaging images or statements about residents, political speech while on duty, and the creation and distribution of commemorative items.<br><br>Legally, police officers cannot be disciplined based on the results of this outside investigation. Rather, the City Manager's Office and Human Resources Department are completing their own internal investigation of this incident which will lead to appropriate employee discipline. <br><br>The Chief has been directed to work on a plan of action related to both investigations and report back to the City Manager within 30 days.<br></p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/citymanagerNewscity-managerOfficers driving at nightCity Manager@phoenixpoliceDan Wilson, Director602-760-6660602-495-5901daniel.b.wilson@phoenix.govhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/MediaContact/Attachments/87/Dan_Wilson.jpgPHXCityManagerResults of two independent investigations, conducted by Ballard Spahr LLP, have been released.



Agri-Food Tech Innovation Grant recipients named https://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/environmental-programs/2398Environment & Sustainability6/24/2022 10:30:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/2398/Newsroom _OEP_1.jpgAgri-Food Tech Innovation Grant recipients named <div class="ExternalClass2447CD2BC23645AD976DE7A7028DC810"><html> <p>​The Phoenix City Council <a href="/cityclerksite/City%20Council%20Meeting%20Files/6-15-22%20Formal%20Agenda-FINAL.pdf" target="_blank">approved</a> seven recipients of the <a href="/oep/food-grants" target="_blank">Agri-Food Tech Innovation Grant</a> to help them adopt agri-food technologies and innovations into their operations.</p> <p>The grant is part of the ARPA-funded <a href="/oep/food-overview" target="_blank">Phoenix Resilient Food System Initiative</a>, which provides for increased local food production and access to healthy foods; support for food banks, food pantries and community agencies; and business and employment opportunities throughout the food system spectrum.</p> <p>The Office of Environmental Programs selected five recipients that are committed to advancing food equity through their modern methods and processes:</p> <ul style="" class="" dir=""> <li> <strong> <a href="https://freshkube.com/?msclkid=a088bbb4d0b011ec89a257f28f5a93cf" target="_blank">FreshKube Inc.</a> </strong>will put the grant funding toward sensors, refrigeration, and solar panels as they help small growers and distributors. The money will allow them to build six mini containers and a portable micro-solar farm, giving growers cost-effective, transportable, temperature-controlled containers that can be powered by renewable energy.<br></li> <li> <strong> <a href="https://sites.google.com/asu.edu/indoorfarminglab" target="_blank">Arizona State University (ASU) Indoor Farming Lab</a> </strong> is focusing on Indoor Vertical Farming (IVF). The Agri-Food Tech Innovation Grant will help the research lab conduct two, three-day workshops about the benefits of IVF within the food system. Funds will pay for personnel, publication, and training expenses. ASU is also providing a 100% cost share match.</li> <li> <strong> <a href="https://lehrgarden.com/" target="_blank">Lehr Innovations LLC</a> </strong>, with its existing Linking Ecosystem and Hardware for Regeneration (LEHR) Gardens, is no stranger to agricultural technology. With this grant, Lehr Innovations will be able to improve growing efficiency by building a testing site to measure the differences in water usage, soil carbon sequestration, costs, and productivity between its LEHR gardens and traditional, in-ground farming methods.</li> <li> <strong> <a href="http://www.nxthorizon.com/Home.html" target="_blank">NxT Horizon LLC</a> </strong> uses aquaponics to help urban farmers maximize food yield without toxic wastes or chemical runoffs. Funds awarded to NxT Horizon will go toward developing a pilot program to demonstrate methods using the giant freshwater prawn within the Phoenix Backyard Garden Program's aquaponics garden system.</li> <li> <strong> <a href="https://www.facebook.com/yobroaz/" target="_blank">YoBro Farms</a> </strong> will expand its vertical microgreen growing business by implementing an outdoor, solar-powered farming system that will enhance resiliency and expand sustainable food production practices. The farm will use funds to buy photovoltaic supplies, a shed, and other materials.</li> </ul> <p>The Office of Mayor Kate Gallego is awarding funds to the following:<br></p> <ul style="" class="" dir=""> <li> <strong> <a href="https://phxfood.coop/" target="_blank">Phoenix Food Cooperative</a> </strong> will create the “Phoenix Cooperative Food Hub," a tech-enabled online directory and marketplace for producers, consumers, and distributors in the Phoenix food system. Grant funds will be used primarily for labor costs as Phoenix Food Cooperative establishes Phoenix's first cooperative grocery store that aggregates local food sources from Phoenix growers and producers and connects residents, retailers, and other consumers.</li> <li> <strong> <a href="https://homerfarms.com/" target="_blank">Homer Farms Inc.​</a> </strong>, a vertical farm startup, will locate in Phoenix to build the first vertical farm in the City of Phoenix. The facility will use LED lights and deep-water hydroponic cultivation technologies, which will produce a minimum of 500,000 pounds of produce per year while using 95 percent less water than traditional agriculture. Grant funds will be used for equipment such as growing racks and lighting. </li> </ul> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/oepNews
Critical Incident Briefing: June 10, 2022 – 91st Avenue and McDowell Roadhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/police/2397Police6/24/2022 10:00:00 PMhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Dyrzqgg5X4Critical Incident Briefing: June 10, 2022 – 91st Avenue and McDowell Road<div class="ExternalClass981DB1335D1C4D3EB02FFF2DDD533B68"><html> <p>​</p> <p> <strong>WARNING: The attached video may contain strong language as well as graphic images which may be disturbing to some people. Viewer discretion is advised.</strong> <br> <br>The Phoenix Police Department has released a Critical Incident Briefing (CIB) video that includes audio, visuals and information related to an in-custody death which occurred on June 10, 2022.</p> <p>This incident occurred in the area of 91st Avenue and McDowell Road when Phoenix police received several calls about a man believed to be under the influence, banging his head against a vehicle, and acting erratic.</p> <p>Officers were dispatched to the scene and learned the subject of the call may also be bleeding. Tolleson fire personnel were also dispatched. </p> <p>The first officer to arrive at the business saw the subject of the call, later identified as Caleb Blair, and attempted to give him commands via a public announcement system. The officer saw Blair nude, and acting erratically. Additional officers arrived and Blair was detained for his safety and taken to a shady section of the parking lot. Officers also requested fire personnel, who were staging nearby, to respond to the scene.</p> <p>Minutes later, the Tolleson Fire Department arrived on the scene and began treating Blair. After a short time, his handcuffs were removed to better provide medical care.</p> <p>While being treated, Blair lost consciousness. Life saving measures were rendered, and he was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.</p> <p>The officers involved in this incident are assigned to the Maryvale-Estrella Precinct and have 5, 6, and 7 years of service respectively, with the department.</p> <p>Conclusions about whether the actions of the officers are consistent with department policy and the law will not be made until all facts are known and the investigation is complete. An internal investigation by the Professional Standard Bureau is currently underway, in addition to a criminal investigation. Once the criminal investigation is complete it will then be reviewed by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.</p> <p>Public records law requires redaction of certain personal identifying information before video is released publicly. That is why you may see some parts of Body Worn Camera (BWC) blurred or covered with a black box. Redacted video is released to local media in conjunction with the release of this Critical Incident Briefing for independent review and publication. Complete, unedited versions of the BWC are released to attorneys and the courts as evidence in a criminal case.​<br></p> <p> <br> </p> </html></div>https://phoenix.gov/policeVideo
Celebrate Waste and Recycling Workers Week – Consider a Career in Public Works!https://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/public-works/2394Public Works (Trash and Recycling)6/23/2022 3:00:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/2394/Newsroom_PublicWorks_WRWW2022.pngCelebrate Waste and Recycling Workers Week – Consider a Career in Public Works!<div class="ExternalClassF9D5E09EC1064C1E8B842915CE40FB35"><html> <p>With more than 600 employees under its Solid Waste arm, the City of Phoenix Public Works Department provides trash, recycling and other waste diversion services to more than 400,000 households within Phoenix's 500+ square miles. Last year, this team collected nearly 700,000 tons of refuse, recycling and green organics. Join us in thanking these public servants during <a href="https://www.wasterecyclingworkersweek.org/" target="_blank">Waste and Recycling Workers Week</a>, and every week, for their dedication to making Phoenix a clean and sustainable place to live.</p> <p>Solid Waste Equipment Operators (SWEO), or garbage truck drivers, are at the heart of this massive operation. These professionals are reliable yet flexible – they always get the job done, but still make time to high-five excited toddlers along their routes.</p> <p>As Phoenix rapidly grows, so does the need for these essential workers. The Public Works Department is actively recruiting to fill more than 40 SWEO vacancies. </p> <p>A career as a SWEO is rewarding and has many opportunities for advancement and on-the-job training. There are opportunities for current CDL drivers and apprenticeships for those seeking their CDL. Learn more and apply at <a href="http://www.phoenix.gov/jobs" target="_blank">Phoenix.gov/Jobs</a>.​<br></p> </html></div>https://phoenix.gov/publicworksNews



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