Phoenix council declines vote on review of police response at Trump protest

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Tear gas released after Donald Trump rally (Source: 3Tv/CBS 5) Tear gas released after Donald Trump rally (Source: 3Tv/CBS 5)

Things got heated inside the Phoenix City Council chambers Wednesday, as outspoken protesters seized control of the meeting to denounce the crowd control tactics used by Phoenix police surrounding President Trump's visit.

After more than five hours of fiery public testimony, the Council decided not to vote on a proposal to hire a firm to do an outside review of the police response.

Many of those who spoke at the meeting say law enforcement officers deployed tear gas and pepper spray without warning last week, an escalation of force they consider excessive.

"They lost control, not us," said one protester. 

"We do not feel safe with what you did," said another.

With chants and cheers, protesters took control of Wednesday's Council meeting to air grievances about the police response. At one point, city staff shut off the public comment microphone to try to regain control, but protesters kept shouting, forcing the Council to change the agenda on the fly.

[RAW VIDEO: Community members speak to Phoenix City Council about police response to anti-Trump rally]

Back on August 22, the night of President Trump's rally, hours of peaceful protest ended with police in riot gear using smoke bombs, tear gas and pepper spray to disperse the crowd after police reported they were being pelted with water bottles, fireballs and gas canisters.

[READ MORE: 4 arrested, 2 officers suffer heat exhaustion after protest turns unruly outside Trump rally]

[SLIDESHOW: Police deploy tear gas at Trump protesters]

On Monday, it was announced that Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher would move forward with plans to hire an outside consulting firm to conduct an independent review of the police response to the protests.

[READ MORE: Independent review ordered for police's response to protest]

The Phoenix Police Department is conducting its own review. This outside review will be in addition.

[POLL: Should the City of Phoenix spend roughly $50,000 on a third-party investigation into the Phoenix PD’s handling of protesters after Trump's Aug. 22 rally?]

“I just felt it was in the best interest of the City and the police department to have validation, a review of what the police officers did on Tuesday from an objective source, from an external third party,” said Zuercher.

But a number of speakers Wednesday accused the police of using excessive force and brutality and accused the city of trying to cover up the alleged excessive use of force with an outside study that they fear will be a sham.

"I was nonviolently protesting! I was hit with eight projectiles, including one to my face -- fired by your police department!" shouted one speaker.

[READ MORE: Activists: Police were aggressive, violent after Trump rally]

It's an issue raising high emotions with many. People showed up en masse, filling the city council chamber and main overflow room, which have a combined capacity of 451. Some demonstrators were seated in a second overflow room.

"Your chemical weapons that you allowed your police department to use against a crowd, a peaceful crowd? Oh come on, one or two water bottles thrown and you're threatened?" questioned another.

[RAW VIDEO: Iraq vet defends police response to anti-Trump protest]

Earlier in the day Wednesday, civil rights advocate Rev. Jarrett Maupin held a news conference on behalf of a man injured at the protest outside Donald Trump's rally last week.

Maupin says Daireus Stokes, 27, "never expected to be maliciously beaten, seriously internally injured, and permanently scarred by Phoenix Police."

[RAW VIDEO: Civil rights advocate Rev. Jarrett Maupin speaks out for man injured at Trump protest]

Later Maupin also spoke out at the Phoenix City Council meeting, delivering some pointed comments including calling the Phoenix police chief "black window dressing."

[RAW VIDEO: Rev. Jarrett Maupin rips Phoenix police over response to anti-Trump protest]

The company chosen by Zuercher is called OIR Group, Inc., based in California. Some had questioned that move because it had conducted at least two reviews for the Oxnard, California Police Department, current Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams' former department.

"This so-called independent investigation is a sham and you're not going to get us to buy into some fake investigation by Jeri Williams' hand-picked investigators," a community member said during the meeting.

Zuercher said Phoenix has never utilized that specific consulting firm in the past and reiterated that the neither police department or the chief had anything to do with choosing them.

After more than five hours of testimony, Zeurcher decided to withdraw his proposal before the council could vote on it.

The City's Human Relations Commission, a group of citizens appointed by the Mayor and City Council, said it will continue to take public comments on the police response at their meeting on Sep. 18.

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