Tempe police chief cancels Saturday's 'Run From The Cops' 5K

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The uproar over police and the use of deadly force has caused the Tempe Police Department to cancel Saturday's "Run From The Cops" 5K.

The third annual race was scheduled for Saturday morning near Tempe Town Lake.

The name of the race is a play on words. Runners would have started the race at 9 a.m. then uniformed Tempe police officers would start running after them three minutes later.

The annual event is intended to bring the community and Tempe Police Department together in support of one another. It also raises funds for the Tempe Police Foundation.

Chief Tom Ryff sent a letter to Tempe police employees explaining his reasons for canceling the event, primarily saying that he did not want the name of the race to be misinterpreted or have anyone feel like the department is creating a divide between law enforcement and the community.

Ryff said the name, which used to be lighthearted, is now inappropriate in light of recent events and out of respect for the debate now underway across the country, he decided to postpone Saturday's race.

There's no word yet on whether the race will be renamed in the future.

People who already registered for the run will get refunds.

The president of the Maricopa County branch of the NAACP supports the decision. The Rev. Oscar Tillman sent a letter to Ryff, saying everyone involved should "take pause, assess and engage in respectful and meaningful dialogue to achieve a positive outcome for everyone involved."