Phoenix vice-mayor backs Phoenix police union on officer firings

    Jim Waring. Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Phoenix Vice-Mayor Jim Waring has stated that he disagrees with Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams firing of two police officers, according to an email posted by the Phoenix police union. 

    “I strongly disagree with Chief Williams’ decision to fire Officer Clinton David Swick and Officer Christopher Meyer,” Waring’s email states, adding that the “City Council is viewed as city employees ultimate boss who can call for an employee to be terminated,” though Phoenix’s city charter prevents elected officials from interfering with personnel matters. 

    Officer Christopher Meyer was the officer at the center of a viral video incident in June. Meyer pointed his weapon at a family with young children could be heard yelling at a man that “you’re going to get fucking shot,” when he didn’t open his car door immediately. He also threatened to shoot the man’s pregnant fiancée. 

    The email also mentions the firing of Detective Clinton David Swick, who lost his job after posts he made on Facebook with anti-Muslim sentiments were publicized by researchers. 

    “[I]f I did have the ability to overturn this decision I would,” Waring said. “I am monitoring how these cases are being handled, and will not forget who is ultimately responsible.”

    PLEA also posted a letter from Councilwoman Thelda Williams, who shared similar sentiments. 

    “Simply put, while I respectfully and strongly disagree with the decision, my involvement ends there,” her letter states. She further goes on to state that she has supported Chief Williams in a number of ways but she does “not agree with her decision to terminate these officers.” 

    PLEA is accusing Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and the city council of fomenting a “war on cops” in the city, and is holding special meetings all week to discuss the recent disciplinary actions against the officers, according to internal emails obtained by Arizona Mirror.

    PLEA is holding the meetings Tuesday through Friday with members to “discuss Chief (Jeri) Williams’ recent disciplinary decisions and the role the Phoenix Mayor and City Council are playing in the war on cops,” the email states. 

    The email states that “by next week, PLEA will hopefully have majority membership participation and we will be able to move forward with the ideas that will be presented at the membership meetings.” 

    Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
    Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.