KGUN 9 On Your SideNews


Pepper spray and pushing

TPD body cams show conflict at protest
Posted at 6:50 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 20:50:23-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It was a protest about immigration raids that ended with pepper spray, take-downs and arrests.
Now Tucson Police have released their body cam video showing the February 16th disturbance as police saw it. 
In reports released with the video officers describe being hit, one says he was kicked in the mouth. Another says a woman slammed a car door on his leg.
Protestors used smartphones to shoot their own perspective of the incident. Now we are seeing video from the police point of view..
Extra officers rushed downtown when what they expected to be a protest that stayed in the sidewalk, spilled into the street and stopped downtown traffic.
Forty seven officers filed reports in the case outlining what they did; and why in some cases they used take-downs, pepper spray and arrests.
The Tucson Police Department regards its policy on use of force as a public document.  It covers the use of everything from friendly persuasion to deadly force.
Officers say they were trying to push back as the crowd was trying to surround them.
One officer's report describes a woman rushing up, then falling down.  He does not say he pushed her but the video does seem to show his arm pushing towards her.
He goes on to say he used pepper spray on two people to keep the crowd from coming towards the woman on the ground and towards police.
Another officer quotes what appears to be the same woman saying she did not hear any orders to move.
Four people ended up under arrest---three of them for assault on a police officer.  That is a felony.
In a written statement TPD Chief Chris Magnus says officers have been praised for peacefully handling much larger protests including some that went off the sidewalks and into the streets. He says rush hour traffic, assaults on officers and the lack of co-operation by a few of the protesters made this incident different.
The chief warns video can be misinterpreted when viewed from different angles and that TPD will re-evaluate how it handles protests.