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3 Phoenix Police Officers Fired After Separate Internal Investigations

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams has fired two officers involved in two separate incidents that garnered negative national attention for the department and city.

Officer Christopher Meyer was fired for his role in responding to a shoplifting report in May. Video of the incident showed Meyer drawing his gun and shouting expletives at a pregnant woman and her fiance with their young children present.

No charges were filed against the young parents, who said they weren’t aware their daughter had taken a doll from the dollar store. The couple who filed a $10 million notice of claim against the city in June.

A disciplinary review board recommended Meyer be suspended without pay for six weeks.

Williams said that wasn’t enough given the totality of the circumstances.

“The decision on discipline is mine, and after meeting with Officer Chris Meyer personally and considering all the facts of the case, I have notified him of my intention to terminate his employment,” Williams told reporters. “In this case, a 240 hour suspension is not sufficient to reverse the adverse effects of his actions on our department and our community.”

Another officer who responded to the shoplifting report with Meyer was reprimanded for using foul language. Williams said that wrongdoing was mitigated by a determination that the officer sought to de-escalate the situation.

Police did not identify the second officer.

Following a separate internal investigation of offensive social media posts by dozens of Phoenix police officers, Williams also announced the firing of Officer David Swick.

Nine other officers were suspended by Williams stemming from social media posts unearthed by the Plain View Project, a national database of racist and violent social media posts by law enforcement.

Another 60 employees will receive coaching on the department’s social media policy.

“As a resident or a person in the community, you can express yourself as part of your First Amendment rights,” Williams said. “But as a public servant, we wear this badge as a symbol of our commitment to a higher standard, one that won't erode the trust of those we serve or tarnish the pride that is involved with being a Phoenix police officer… I expect more, you deserve more.”

A disciplinary review board is still reviewing the case of Sgt. Juan Hernandez, who sued the city of Phoenix and claimed his First Amendment rights were violated by being targeted for his social media posts.

Earlier Tuesday, a Phoenix police spokeswoman also announced that Williams had fired a third officer, Sgt. Daniel Beau Jones.

Police provided no details supporting that decision, citing an ongoing criminal investigation of Jones.

All officers have the opportunity to accept or appeal Williams' disciplinary decisions.

KJZZ’s Ben Giles joined The Show to talk about this development.

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Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.