ACLU asks public's help looking at Phoenix PD's videos of anti-Trump protest

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The ACLU is asking for the public's help to go through hundreds of videos from the anti-Trump protest on Aug. 22. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The ACLU is asking for the public's help to go through hundreds of videos from the anti-Trump protest on Aug. 22. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The videos were released after the ACLU filed a lawsuit after the department didn't release materials the civil rights organization asked for in a public records request. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The videos were released after the ACLU filed a lawsuit after the department didn't release materials the civil rights organization asked for in a public records request. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
When the president was in Phoenix on Aug. 22 for a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, a peaceful protest turned unruly and protesters blamed the Phoenix Police Department for starting it. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) When the president was in Phoenix on Aug. 22 for a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, a peaceful protest turned unruly and protesters blamed the Phoenix Police Department for starting it. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The ACLU said its ultimate goal is to hold the Phoenix Police Department accountable and to implement policy and procedural changes if warranted. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The ACLU said its ultimate goal is to hold the Phoenix Police Department accountable and to implement policy and procedural changes if warranted. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The American Civil Liberties Union in Arizona fought to get the police footage of the anti-Trump protest that happened during the summer and now members are asking the public's help scrolling through all that footage.

The hundreds of hours of video range from body cameras to surveillance cameras and cellphone video.

[PHOTOS AND VIDEOS: From that night]

The videos were released after the ACLU filed a lawsuit after the department didn't release materials the civil rights organization asked for in a public records request.

[READ MORE: ACLU suing Phoenix PD over Trump protest records]

"We think that the public has the right to know what's in these videos and that's why we are making them public through our website. It's the reason we filed the public records request in the first place," said Kathy Brody, ACLU's legal director.

One of the videos shows an officer 40 minutes before chemical weapons were used on the crowd by police, joking about wanting to use a pepper gun and referring to it as a toy.

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

"From our perspective, it's no joking matter but from the perspective of that officer, obviously it was. And that's one of the reasons that we want to know what was the planning for this protest, what was the training given to all the officers. What were the officers planning to use these weapons on peaceful protestors that night? Was that the plan in the first place?" said Brody.

[READ IN FULL: The ACLU's letters and the email from the Phoenix Police Department are part of the lawsuit]

The ACLU said its ultimate goal is to hold the Phoenix Police Department accountable and to implement policy and procedural changes if warranted.

"Based on the information we have and the videos that we've seen so far it does appear that the Phoenix Police Department act was not warranted in their actions against the protesters," Brody said.

The video can be seen on the Arizona ACLU's website.

"If you go to that website you will be able to access all of the videos and you will be able to look through them and so they're posted just as we received them. Some are long clips, some are short clips but the public can look at that and then we also have a link on that same website where the public can click and send up feedback about the videos that they're looking at," Brody said.

When the president was in Phoenix on Aug. 22 for a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, a peaceful protest turned unruly and protesters blamed the Phoenix Police Department for starting it while officers said it was the protesters who initiated the violence.

 [READ MORE: Phoenix PD does play-by-play of video of unruly anti-Trump protest]

According to Sgt. Johnathan Howard with Phoenix police, some people in the crowd began to throw rocks, bottles and other projectiles at police and someone in the crowd dispersed tear gas in the area.

Our Mike Watkiss at the scene called it a "battle zone."

[RAW VIDEO: Police, mayor talk about post-rally violence] 

At the time, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams defended and praised her officers for their actions that night.

“No one who was there last night wanted the end result to be," she said the next day. "But I will say this once again, professional, decisive, immediately responsive and our police department had to deal with and engage with a scenario and situation and they did it with exception. They were amazing."

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