PHOENIX - After more than a week of police and protesters blaming each other for escalating the situation outside President Trump's Phoenix rally earlier this month, Phoenix PD showed video Thursday that appeared to implicate at least one protester for throwing gas canisters at officers.
Sgt. Jon Howard presented the video compiled from several sources to media Thursday afternoon, explaining several steps in the escalation as the video played.
Howard highlighted at least one gas canister that did not appear to be from Phoenix PD and that was thrown behind police lines. It was at that point, he said, that police put gas masks on and began using their own gas canisters to disperse the crowd. He said another canister appeared to be from a non-police source, too, based on the volume of gas that came from it.
The video also showed a small number of protesters throwing objects at police and putting pressure on temporary barriers set up along the sidewalks. Officers responded by shooting pepper spray balls in their direction, causing that area to thin out considerably.
It was after that escalation, Howard said, that the canister from the crowd was thrown behind police lines.
In total, four people were arrested at the protest: Two for assault on officers, one for property damage and another for an unrelated warrant. A fifth person was arrested later in the week for assault on officers.
The Phoenix City Council had planned to vote Wednesday on hiring a firm for an independent review of police conduct outside the rally, but after five hours of public comments, the vote never took place. Many who advocated for the review changed their minds when they learned it would be conducted by a company that has worked with Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams before.
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