Phoenix — In a collection of recorded conversations, top aide to Phoenix police chief Jeri Williams revealed an ABC15 investigation that revealed how police and prosecutors mistakenly accused protesters as members of the gang. In response, he personally stated that he misunderstood the city council and the general public.
Williams publicly claimed that the gang’s accusations were a “bad idea” and that her chain of command failed to inform her of the decision.
But Mike Kurtenbach, executive assistant chief, the ministry’s second commander, reiterated that it would be “absolutely insane” to dispute that none of the top Phoenix leaders remained aware of the incident. I told other top officials.
“My boss knew about this for months. We didn’t hide it,” Kurtenbach said in a recorded conversation between him and then assistant chief Gabriel Lopez. Kurtenbach added: But we never dispute what we all knew about it. That would be insane. Absolutely insane. “
ABC15 obtained multiple recordings of various conversations between Kurtenbach and two assistant chiefs (John Collins and Lopez) demoted after the scandal on August 13, 2021. [The news station did not make or commission the recordings.]
“I wondered why I could do that,” Kurtenbach told Collins. “It does not mean that [Williams], No one knew about this.Everyone, including [then-City Manager Ed Zuercher]Until February. It’s crazy about me. “
In another conversation recorded on September 29, 2021, Collins also discussed the scandal with former mayor Ed Zuelcher.
“It wasn’t a secret [top floor of Phoenix PD].. It wasn’t a secret.This was all good [Williams] Until the end, “Collins said. “There was no problem. I was just cruising.”
In addition to revealing levels of dysfunction, distrust, and deception at the top of the Phoenix Police Department, the recording was also filed on April 18 by three assistant chiefs, Collins, Lopez, and Laurance Hein. It supports the allegations made in the proceedings.
In the proceedings, Williams, Kurtenbach, Zuelcher and the City of Phoenix were nominated as defendants. It claimed that as a result of the scandal to protect themselves, those officials were defamed and improperly demoted the assistant chief.
“Pointing and scapegoat soon became widespread at the top of the Phoenix police station, and Secretary Williams and Assistant Secretary Kurtenbach were informed by their team of leaders (ie Collins, Hein, Lopez) that the MCAO would be prosecuted. He falsely claimed that he did not. According to the proceedings, he prosecuted on October 17, 2020, for supporting the criminal street gang.
A spokesperson for the Phoenix Police said in response to a request for comment, “As you have pointed out, this is a proceeding in a proceeding and cannot be commented on at this time.”
Protest gang scandal
On October 17, 2020, a group of 18 protesters were arrested after the demonstration. They were charged on October 27 with multiple felony charges, including a number of gangsters.
ABC15 Broken the first news About the gang accusation on October 30, 2020.
The case is based on barbaric exaggeration and is a lie from protesters and Maricopa County prosecutors.However, ABC15 is used for both Phoenix PD and MCAO. “Political prosecution” investigation February 2021.
Prior to the indictment, Phoenix Police and Maricopa County Prosecutor’s Office held a high-level meeting on October 23, 2020 to discuss the case.
Assistant Chiefs Collins, Lopez and Hein attended.
Collins and Lopez said in a proceeding that they had directly and immediately notified Mike Kultenbach of MCAO’s plans to accuse the gang of protesters.
For the ABC15 investigation, the city ordered the law firm Ballard Spahr to conduct an external investigation.
The result Part of the external investigation was published on August 12, 2021.
The law firm said it found no evidence that Secretary Williams had been informed of plans to prosecute the protesters as members of the gang prior to the indictment. Similarly, an external investigation said Kurtenbach “did not remember” when another assistant chief informed him of the plan.
In response to the findings, Secretary Williams answered the question in front of the city council on August 25, 2021. [She has never interviewed with ABC15 in regards to this incident.]
“It was a bad idea for flatouts. The system was circumvented, personnel issues were circumvented, and communication was lost,” Williams said.
She goes on to say: “It was very rigorous and rigorous about the expectation that the new team and new staff would definitely be informed that the interest of the community would be very high.”
As a result of Ballard Spar’s report, Williams accused Collins, Lopez, and Hein and demoted the trio to the rank of commander.
Whether Secretary Williams knew about the indictment before the indictment, she knew then and took no action until the city was openly embarrassed by the scandal.
During the three months from the first report of ABC15 to the subsequent multi-part investigation, all assistant chiefs said the incident was a topic of “repeated” conversations.
“Every time the issue of prosecution of a suspect who assisted a criminal street gang was raised at a briefing on Monday, neither Williams nor Kurtenbach questioned the validity of the prosecution or briefed on the intention of MCAO’s prosecution. I didn’t argue. According to the lawsuit, suspected gang-related crimes. “
Proceedings and records
Recordings can play an important role in proceedings filed by the demoted Assistant Chief.
In Kultenbach’s conversation with Collins, he does not deny being told about plans to prosecute protesters as members of the gang. He also explained why the lack of knowledge by Williams and other top city leaders was impossible.
“I don’t remember the conversation we had. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I don’t remember,” Kurtenbach said. “But what I remember, and [Lopez] It was confirmed that by October 30, Viscobbing had already tweeted about the gangster’s allegations. Therefore, this overall idea of how PABs scrutinize social media, and how they report to this floor, is rude to me that these notifications have failed for months. Do you know what I’m saying? “
As a result, the Maricopa County Law Firm is currently prosecuting some police protesters as members of the gang. This is serious from a criminal and constitutional point of view.
Currently, one defendant is conducting a preliminary hearing. I couldn’t go to COVID directly and no one activated call inline.
— Dave Biscobing (@ DaveBiscobing15) October 30, 2020
ABC15 broadcast, published, and tweeted about the alleged gang on October 30, as well as a few days later in early November.
PAB is the ministry’s public relations office, and Kurtenbach and Lopez shared similar ideas in a conversation recorded on the same day.
“Looking at the report and the way it is told, it looks like this: [Williams] Didn’t know, we disappointed her, and this is clearly news for her. I checked Dave Biscobing’s tweets. His first tweet about these alleged gangsters was October 30, 2020. In at least nine months, I played her surprise game and made her fail, “says Lopez.
Kurtenbach replied: Because you and I both know that PAB is scrutinizing social media, especially guys like Dave Biscobing. “
The three demoted assistant chiefs alleged in lawsuits that their demotion violated a police officer’s rights bill, a specific state law that led to internal investigations and disciplinary action.
The trio claims that the Ballard Spahr probe does not meet the standards and processes required for discipline.
Kurtenbach “absolutely” agreed to this process in a conversation between Collins and Lopez, calling it “hatchet work” and dumping it in the trash.
Police officials also said that the city’s manager’s promise to keep Ballard Spar’s investigation private was broken.
“As I know, you know that Ballard Spar was supposed to be the draft document that was supposed to be handed over to. [the Public Standards Bureau]”Kurtenbach told Collins. “That was all.”
The Public Standards Office (PSB) is a unit within the Phoenix Police Department that handles internal investigations.
“I was naive that the city would postpone the end of the negotiations and not publish the document,” Kurtenbach said in a recording. “Treat it as a draft. Give it to the PSB. Therefore, the PSB can follow the Bill of Rights of Police Officers.”
As evidenced by the records, the Deputy Commander of the Department agreed that the Assistant Chief was actually a scapegoat.
“I’ll just say it, you don’t have to say it, you’re just sick,” Kurtenbach told Collins. “Leave it as it is.”
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing. [email protected]..