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Judge orders trial in lawsuit against Phoenix police for excessive use of force on 2017 protesters

On Feb. 7, District Court Judge John J. Tuchi ordered a trial for three of six plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against the Phoenix Police Department for excessive use of force.

It stems from a confrontation in 2017, when police fired tear gas and pepper spray at protesters outside a rally by then-President Trump.

“We see a long pattern of practice of this type of behavior from the Phoenix Police Department, and we hope that these trials are going to be one of the reasons why we start forcing them to change the way that they interact with the public,” said senior staff attorney Jared Keenan from the ACLU of Arizona, which filed the suit. 

Keenan says the trial may add to growing pressure on Phoenix police to change their crowd-control tactics. 

Athena Ankrah is an assistant producer for KJZZ's The Show.Ankrah graduated from Arizona State University in 2023 with a bachelor’s in journalism and a second degree in Chicano media and expressive culture.