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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.

 

 

Popular Phoenix Trails to Close During Extremely Hot Dayshttps://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/parks-and-recreation/3080Parks and Recreation4/22/2024 4:30:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/3080/Trail-Closure-at-Piestewa-Peak.jpgPopular Phoenix Trails to Close During Extremely Hot Days<div class="ExternalClassED91D3EB345F479CB56F4199D66815AB"><html> <p>Three popular City of Phoenix hiking trails will close during extremely hot days.<br></p> <p>On days when the National Weather Service issues an Excessive Heat Warning, Camelback Mountain's Echo and Cholla Trails and all trails associated with Piestewa Peak Trailhead in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve will close from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.​<br></p> <p>During Excessive Heat Warnings, trail access is limited, parking lot gates will be closed, and signage will be posted. Closure information will be posted on the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department's website and social media accounts, and to local resorts and hotels. Additionally, Phoenix Park Rangers will be visible at those locations to remind and educate trail users about the restrictions. Email notifications are also available by <a href="/parks/trails/take-a-hike-do-it-right" target="_blank"><strong style="color:rgb(139, 0, 0);">signing up for “Hiking and Heat Updates" online.</strong></a> </p> <p>To help with that recommendation, extended summer hours are in effect annually from June  through September at North Mountain Park and Piestewa Peak Trailhead in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, and Pima Canyon Trailhead in South Mountain Park/Preserve. To provide an extra two hours of availability and promote hiking after 7 p.m., parking lot entrances are open until 9 p.m. at those locations. Year-round at those three trailheads, parking lots open at 5 a.m., and trails are open until 11 p.m. All other trails within the Phoenix parks system will remain open.</p> <p>During the Valley's warm weather months, and regardless of whether an Excessive Heat Watch is in effect, it is recommended that trail users hike during the early morning or evening hours when it is cooler and there is more shade.</p> <p>Looking for an open trail? There are more than 200 miles of open trails within the City of Phoenix. Visit <a href="http://www.phoenix.gov/trails" target="_blank"><strong style="color:rgb(139, 0, 0);">Phoenix.gov/trails</strong></a><span style="color:rgb(139, 0, 0);"> </span>to plan your next hike.</p> <p> <strong>BACKGROUND</strong> </p> <p>In summer 2021, the Parks and Recreation Department ran a 2 ½ month pilot program from July 13 to September 30 in which they closed these same trails to reduce heat-related injuries and deaths and reduce the risk of injuries to rescue personnel.</p> <p>In October of 2021, the Parks and Recreation Board formally adopted the program limiting hiking on some trails from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on National Weather Service issued Heat Warning days.</p> <p>The first full season of the Trails and Heat Safety Program ran from May 1, 2022, through Sept. 30, 2022, for a duration of 153 days. There were 18 <a href="http://www.weather.gov/" target="_blank"><strong style="color:rgb(139, 0, 0);"><span style="">National Weather Service</span> </strong></a>(NWS) issued Heat Warning Days and, therefore, 18 resulting trail closure days in 2022. In 2023, there were 42 trail closure days. </p> <p>In August of 2023, the Parks and Recreation Board expanded the trail closure program to cover the entire year (previously ​May – October) and extended the closure hours to begin at 9 a.m. (previously 11 a.m.). <a href="/newsroom/parks-and-recreation/2852" target="_blank"><strong style="color:rgb(139, 0, 0);">Read more about the board's decision.</strong></a> </p> <p> <strong>TAKE A HIKE, DO IT RIGHT</strong> </p> <p>The Phoenix Parks and Recreation, and Fire departments have worked in partnership since 2015 to share the <a href="/parks/trails" target="_blank"><strong style="color:rgb(139, 0, 0);">“Take a Hike. Do it Right. </strong></a><span style="color:rgb(139, 0, 0);">"</span> hiking safety message and continue to lead with education about responsible hiking. All trail users should follow these important and potentially life-saving hiking guidelines:</p> <p>•Dress Appropriately: Wear proper shoes, clothing, hat, and sunscreen.</p> <p>•Bring Water: Hydrate before you go. Have plenty of water, more than you think you need. Turn around and head back to the trailhead before you drink half of your water.</p> <p>•Keep in Contact: Carry a mobile phone.</p> <p>•Team Up: Hike with others. If hiking solo, tell someone your start and end times, and location.</p> <p>•Be Honest: Do you have a medical condition? Asthma, heart problems, diabetes, knee or back problems? Don't push yourself! (Even trained athletes have been caught off guard by getting dehydrated on Arizona trails.)</p> <p>•Don't Trailblaze: Enjoy the Sonoran Desert's beautiful and undeveloped landscape, but please stay on designated trails.</p> <p>•Take Responsibility: Don't be "that person" – the one who wasn't prepared, shouldn't have been there for health reasons, or ignored safety guidelines. Be the responsible hiker, who takes a hike and does it right!</p> <p>For the safety of pets, dogs are prohibited on any City of Phoenix trail when the temperature is 100 degrees or warmer. The Arizona Humane Society advises that temperatures in the 90s are also unsafe for pets to be outdoors. <br></p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/parksNews
Fire Ban in Desert Parks and Preserves Starts May 1https://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/parks-and-recreation/3078Parks and Recreation4/19/2024 9:00:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/3078/Phoenix-Mountain-Preserve.jpgFire Ban in Desert Parks and Preserves Starts May 1<div class="ExternalClass707B3004499A4E278C1DBC87932404E8"><html> <p>The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department will put into effect its annual ban of open fires in the City's desert parks and mountain preserves starting Wednesday, May 1, 2024. The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department's annual fire ban goes into effect the same day .</p><p>In consultation with the Phoenix Fire Department, smoking and charcoal fires are included in the ban due to the extreme fire danger that the combination of low humidity, increased temperatures, excessive dry vegetation, and frequent high winds create each spring.</p><p>The ban applies to <strong>Camelback Mountain, Deem Hills Recreation Area, Lookout Mountain, Papago Park, Phoenix Mountains Park and Recreation Area, Phoenix Mountains Preserve, Phoenix Sonoran Preserve, North Mountain Park, Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, and South Mountain Park/Preserve.</strong></p><p>The ban does not apply to the City's flatland parks.</p><p>For those using the City's desert parks and preserve land, the fire ban stipulates the following:</p><p>·       Open wood and charcoal fires are prohibited</p><p>·       Propane or gas grills may be used, but only in established picnic areas<br></p><p><strong>The following activities continue to be prohibited year-round:</strong></p><ul style="" class="" dir=""><li>Smoking outside enclosed vehicles </li><li>Fireworks</li></ul><p>Motorists traveling through or near Phoenix's desert parks and mountain preserves should use extreme care with smoking materials and dispose of those only in their vehicle's ash tray.</p><p>To protect their homes, residents whose property borders the City's preserve land may remove dry shrubs, brush and grasses, and trim dead branches from trees within the 10-foot strip of land that borders their property. By creating this 10-foot "buffer zone" residents can help to protect their homes from potential brush fires in the adjacent preserve land.</p><p>Preserve neighbors also should check irrigation lines and pool back-flush hoses to ensure that water is not seeping into the preserve. Outside water sources encourage unnaturally dense vegetation growth, which increases fire risk.<br></p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/parksNews
​City Exhibit Takes Aim at Sexual Assault Victim “Shaming” and “Blaming”https://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom/human-services/3079Human Services4/19/2024 4:30:00 PMhttps://www.phoenix.gov/newssite/Lists/NewsArticle/Attachments/3079/library.jpg​City Exhibit Takes Aim at Sexual Assault Victim “Shaming” and “Blaming”<div class="ExternalClass42B88EECDE6A4A67B3CBCE0CA2D77D7B"><html> <p>​The City of Phoenix's Strategic Initiatives team invites you to visit a powerful exhibit to raise awareness about sexual assault as part of April's “Let's Talk Teal Campaign." April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the city provides resources and awareness events all month.</p> <p>The exhibit titled “What were you wearing?" draws attention to the “rape culture," where questions and statements like these are common, and put the blame on the victim. Victim shaming and blaming discourages victims from coming forward to report the crime and seek help. The display features the stories of several survivors and a representation of the clothes they were wearing when they were assaulted. </p> <p>The exhibit is on display at Burton Barr Library on the 2nd floor through April 24th.</p> <p>The <a target="_blank" href="/humanservices/programs/strategicinitiatives">City of Phoenix's Strategic Initiatives</a> section collaborates with community partners to combat domestic violence, sexual assault, unhealthy youth relationships, human trafficking, and to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We achieve this mission through prevention, training, community awareness, and enhancing services for the overall well-being of those we serve.​<br></p> <p> <br> </p> </html></div>https://www.phoenix.gov/humanservicesNews

 

 

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