Attorneys say clients plan to sue Phoenix Police Department over protest enforcement
There have been no arrests made for several days during the protests in Phoenix. But for the first few nights, were arrested while demanding justice for George Floyd.
Many arrests were made due to violating the statewide, week-long 8 p.m. curfew that began on May 31st and ended at 5 a.m. June 8th.
Despite new lawsuits being filed Monday against the Phoenix Police Department, FOX 10’s Steve Nielsen uncovered the department has received zero citizen complaints since the protests began.
The department didn’t want to weigh in on the matter Monday as the protests are still continuing, but a criminal justice attorney commended the department for making it easy for citizens to make complaints and have them investigated.
He says filing a complaint takes time and that people are skipping that step.
Sam Cook was one of hundreds of protesters arrested in Phoenix a week and a half ago. “We had asked the officers to let us get to our car because they blocked off a street that they were parked on … the same street our car was at and they weren’t going to let us get to our car to go home,” Cook explained.
He said as they tried to leave, they suddenly were met with a much larger crowd and he began to smell tear gas.
“Feeling it in your nose, it burns really, really bad,” Cook said.
He didn’t know he had the option to file a complaint with Phoenix Police against an officer.
A spokesperson for the department didn’t want to comment on our story but said they’ve received zero complaints since the protests started.
“It is a great thing for people that know it exists and hopefully the more people that know it exists will hopefully take action and use that,” said Armando Nava with Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice.
Although zero complaints were filed, Nava says it doesn’t mean there aren’t any.
“I don’t think this is the kind of situation where people are going to go online and say, ‘I have a complaint please investigate.’ They’re calling attorneys, they want some sort of justice for the way they were treated,” Nava said.
On Monday, a criminal defense attorney confirmed they’ve filed 4 to 5 lawsuits on behalf of protesters against the Phoenix Police Department.
Nava says a class action lawsuit is coming soon.
“That’s what we’re trying to do, make sure the officers who exceeded their authority, let’s say, are held to account for that and I think that’s what’s been missing the last couple of years,” Nava said.
The Phoenix Police Department has no comment on any lawsuits already filed or any possible future class action lawsuit.
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office says 3 people have been formally charged in the protests, 52 cases are still being reviewed and 80 cases have been sent to the city for possible misdemeanor prosecution.
Originally published at https://www.fox10phoenix.com.