This statement from Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel regarding the dismissal of charges for the Oct. 17, 2020 riot case against Phoenix Police raises far more questions than it answers. Acknowledging the fact that crimes were committed, she then goes on to convolutedly address the issue in the third person, stating, “It is the decision of this office that it is in the interests of justice to not proceed.”
Scrolling through the links following the statement, it appears the Maricopa County Attorney is more attuned to distributing community service announcements than to prosecuting criminality, which is the fundamental duty of the prosecutor’s office in the fourth largest and fastest growing county in the United States.
Phoenix Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Ann Justus stated at the time, “As officers began making arrests, incendiary devices were thrown at them. Due to the ongoing criminal activity and assault, the Phoenix Police deployed less lethal munitions in order to safely make arrests.”
The marauding gangs, using the death of repeatedly incarcerated George Floyd 1700 miles away in Minneapolis, to assault Phoenix Police, faced numerous charges including aggravated assault on officers, criminal damage, unlawful assembly, rioting, resisting arrest and obstructing a roadway. They knocked over barricades, “causing a fully marked Phoenix Police patrol vehicle to sustain damage,” Justus said.
Rioters attempted to conceal their faces from view with black umbrellas as they set off smoke bombs in the road and flung them at officers. When police finally declared an unlawful assembly, they were ignored. Fifteen adults and three teens were arrested.
It was reported that flyers for the protest were posted on social media prior to the rampage, boasting, “Phoenix PD underestimates the power of the people. March with us to occupy Washington Street and remind PD who they serve. We will not stay silent. Until we get justice, Phoenix will have no peace.”
Protests against the police have not been isolated incidents and nationally efforts to defund the police have gained momentum resulting in officers leaving and crime rates rising. Yet these are the people Maricopa County Attorney Adel thinks are worthy of having their charges dropped. Violent rioters do not respond to weakness. It emboldens them.