Phoenix police must now log and report every single time they point a gun at someone
Without a doubt, police violence is a pervasive issue across the entire nation. While police brutality can impact anyone, it’s especially harmful in communities of color (especially black men), sex workers, and Indigenous populations. Critiques of social media notwithstanding, the ability to share videos and live streams of interactions with police have helped more people understand just how dangerous interactions with the police can be, especially if you’re not white.
Now, a big change is happening in the Phoenix Police Department. Officers are now required to record every single time they point their weapons at people, as reported by CNN. The language here is important. It’s not just shooting the gun, it’s aiming it at a person. Mayor Kate Gallego gave a press conference on Monday where she explained that the new rule came from recommendations released by the National Police Foundation.
Police Chief Jeri Williams called the measure “an important step in our relationship building. Our updated record management system now allows us to track these incidents and will allow us to have a real idea of how many times our officers are able to successfully de-escalate an incident and a situation with the potential of deadly force,” she continued.
Mayor Gallego also noted that all officers will now have to participate in eight hours of mental health training in addition to wearing body cameras on duty. When speaking on the body cameras, Gallego said this addition “will allow us to show situations that have been de-escalated and better understand what is happening in our community.”
Now, it’s important to go into some background context for what’s happened in Phoenix that has led to this point. As we covered here at Daily Kos in June, a video went absolutely viral after the Phoenix police pulled a gun on a black family over accusations that a four-year-old child had stolen a doll from a local discount store. While no one was physically harmed, the situation was obviously traumatic, and the family wanted the officers involved to be fired.
In the video footage, an officer (who is not seen on camera) can be heard yelling, “I’m going to f--king put a cap in your fucking head,” and “You’re going to f--king get shot.” Another officer pulls a gun on the pregnant mother, still in the car, and tells her to put her hands up, which she explains she can’t do because she’s holding her one-year-old.