Phoenix PD does play-by-play of video of unruly anti-Trump protest

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Sgt. Jonathan Howard went over compiled video where he said officers kept their cool while objects were being thrown at officers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Sgt. Jonathan Howard went over compiled video where he said officers kept their cool while objects were being thrown at officers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Police said the video shows somebody threw a flag like a spear at officers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Police said the video shows somebody threw a flag like a spear at officers. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Police said they used pepper balls to disperse a crowd affiliated with Antifa. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Police said they used pepper balls to disperse a crowd affiliated with Antifa. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Different objects were thrown at police. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Different objects were thrown at police. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Phoenix Department gave a play-by-play over a compilation video Thursday, showing what caused them to start using non-lethal actions to disperse the crowd during an anti-Trump protest in downtown Phoenix.

[RAW VIDEO: Phoenix PD does play-by-play of video of unruly anti-Trump protest]

[WATCH: Phoenix PD compilation video from Aug. 22, 2017 (contains some strong language)]

Sgt. Jonathan Howard with the Phoenix Police Department went through the roughly 13-minute compilation of security video and video recorded by TV stations and protesters. 

He said earlier in the day on Aug. 22, officers were breaking verbal fights between people around the Phoenix Convention Center but the protests stayed peaceful. There were small pockets of disruption but nothing major, he said.

Police created a "safe zone" using a metal fence between protesters and officers. 

As the night went on, officers found the crowd's attitude was getting more intense. "More people are getting more agitated," Howard said.

[SLIDESHOW: Police deploy tear gas at Trump protesters]

Officers put on helmets because items were being thrown at them.

"For several hours now we had sporadic incidents of people throwing things at us," Howard said. "We know they were throwing water bottles, we know they were throwing frozen water bottles, we know they were throwing bricks, rocks, shoes, other things including things that were lit on fire."

[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?]

Howard identified a group of people who arrived later dressed in black as ANTIFA in the crowd, and said they were trying to get through the metal fencing. 

Officers then fired pepper balls at the ground to disperse those people, while other protesting peacefully were left alone, Howard said. 

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

Howard then shows video of someone throwing a gas canister at police, which is what Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said that sparked officers to use tear gas and smoke bombs to disperse the crowd.

"This is not ours," Howard said while pointing to a gas canister that was releasing gas that was turquoise in color. "We do not have gas that looks like this, that reacts like this."

He also said the gas was thrown when officers didn't have their gas masks on. 

[RAW VIDEO: Phoenix police speak about video of anti-Trump protest]

The video also showed someone throwing a flag/spear at officers.

Officers then put on their gas masks and started to use smoke and tear gas to disperse the crowd.

In all, four people were arrested while two officers were hospitalized for heat exhaustion.

"We were really trying to target those people actively engaged in criminal acts. it's not our goal to tell everybody you have to go home, it's our goal to tell people engaged in criminal acts you have to go home, and unfortunately they did not,  they continued to increase their level of disruption and violence and that ends up having a negative impact on everybody," said Howard.

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

The video comes a day after dozens of people voiced their anger to the Phoenix City Council over the police tactics. They took over Wednesday's meeting and most of them harshly criticized police, saying officers in riot gear were the ones that caused the protest to turn disorderly.

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

"They lost control, not us," said one protester at the meeting. 

Many of them complained officers used excessive force.

"The officers were not in chaos. The officers were well-controlled," Howard said. "Calm controlled response from police, they remain under the direction of incident commanders, we don't have officers running around, we don't have officers chasing people around."

The Phoenix city manager original proposed having an outside firm from California look into the actions by police. But the measure was pulled after the City Council declined to vote on the plan.

Howard added that the compilation video was just one perspective of everything that happened on Aug. 22. He said the video wasn't the final product and the department is still investigating.

[READ MORE: Phoenix council declines vote on review of police response at Trump protest]

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