Phoenix is well known for its oppressive heat and obnoxious Republicans. But with police misconduct rapidly working its way up the power rankings, city officials have announced that Phoenix officers will now be required to document every instance in which they point their gun at someone.
CNN reports that a supervisor will review each incident and that every single one will require officers to fill out a form detailing exactly what occurred.
“When a gun is pointed at someone, that’s a traumatic event,” Police Chief Jeri Williams said at a news conference. “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.”
In June, Phoenix PD made national headlines after officers were caught on video physically harming a black man and pointing a gun at the rest of his family.
The incident called into question the aggressive tactics utilized by police and a subsequent $10 million lawsuit was filed against the city of Phoenix, alleging that the police officers in question had committed battery, unlawful imprisonment, false arrest and infliction of emotional distress, in addition to violating the family’s civil rights.
Jay-Z’s Roc Nation conglomerate has offered legal counsel and Dania Diaz, the company’s Managing Director of Philanthropy, called the incident “absolutely sickening” and pledged to “support the family to ensure that justice is served.”
City officials haven’t drawn a correlation between the violent encounter that occurred in June and their announcement. However, earlier this year, the National Police Foundation made its recommendation in favor of recording such incidents after officer-involved shootings more than doubled in 2018 (There were 44 reported in Phoenix last year, compared to an annual average of 21 from 2009 to 2017).
It’s yet to be disclosed how the city will use this data, but it’s believed that the information will provide a more complete picture of how and why guns are being drawn in specific instances, in addition to examining if alternative or non-lethal options were available.