Mayor, County Attorney react to Trump rally violence

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and County Attorney Bill Montgomery are both speaking out about the violence that marred the evening Tuesday following Donald Trump's campaign rally downtown.

Stanton, a Democrat, says he's disappointed that a few people disrupted a peaceful protest by throwing objects at police and that he is committed to a "thorough and transparent" review by police of the events that unfolded following a rally by President Donald Trump on Tuesday. 

“I am incredibly proud of the thousands of people and community organizations who exercised their First Amendment rights peacefully last night during what we knew would be a very tense and emotional scene. They represent the best of our community. 

My top priority, and that of Police Chief Jeri Williams, was to ensure that every person who attended the Trump campaign rally, those who expressed themselves outside the Convention Center, and the police officers on duty, got home safely. I am grateful that happened, and that there were only four arrests.

It is disappointing beyond words that a few people chose to disrupt an otherwise peaceful night by throwing objects at police officers. Chief Williams has indicated that police took decisive steps to disperse the crowd because those objects included tear gas, bottles and rocks. To avoid a potentially dangerous physical confrontation with these disruptors, police used pepper spray — which had the unfortunate consequence of affecting some of those nearby who were peaceful. 

I have no reason to believe that the community and civil rights organizations that helped organize the rally outside – and even trained their members beforehand to remain civil and peaceful -- played any role in confronting police or throwing objects that preceded the dispersal. 
I am committed to ensuring that the Police Department conducts a thorough and transparent review of last night’s events so we can better understand what happened and make sure that our residents and officers are kept safe in the future as well.

Additionally, I have reached out to leaders of the organizations that took part in the rally, and both Chief Williams and I will sit down with them next week to hear their perspectives and concerns.”

Community activists like Francisca Porchas of Puente Arizona say police used unnecessary force and injured innocent bystanders. Porchas said Stanton was a hypocrite for denouncing Trump's visit yet standing by police over their actions.

Stanton says he plans to meet with the several activist groups who organized the protests.

Meantime, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery had this to say about the violence:

“Coverage of the actions of the different groups engaged in the activities last night in our Downtown area make clear that the Phoenix Police Department exercised appropriate restraint and resolve in controlling a difficult situation. While we wait to see the outcome of their after action review, I want to express the respect I have for the way they swiftly and decisively dealt with small fractions of individuals who attempted isolated acts of violence. For those who were law abiding, free speech was protected. For those who sought to use or promote violence, public safety was protected.”

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