You may recall the Phoenix Police Department is investigating a slideshow shown at a holiday party last year. But the slideshow was not your typical entertainment fare; it was full of crime scene photos and internet clippings. We got our first look at the slideshow photos Wednesday.
Phoenix police redacted many of the photos, and they are still rather offensive. So CBS 5 News decided to hold back on airing many of them; but the ones you will see still paint a picture of the gravity of this situation.
"Somebody said, 'OK, we're going to watch the video,' that kind of thing, people kind of gathered around the TV," said an officer talking about the now infamous slideshow containing personal, crime scene and internet photos.
In his interview with internal affairs, he told them he was at the holiday party on Dec. 17 of last year, held at an officer's house.
"She mentioned to me that these were photographs taken at either suicides or natural deaths, whether decomps (sic), but they were not crime scenes," the officer said.
He's referring to Officer Courtney Mayo, who the department said is responsible for the video. There's a photograph of detectives posing with a sex toy, possibly a piece of evidence; another of officers posing next to a grave, a possible crime scene photo; and some of Mayo herself, holding up evidence like children's toys and a gun. But most of the photos are of the deceased - people with severe head trauma, maggots on their head and decomposed bodies.
Even when redacted, they're too graphic to show. According to paperwork, the slideshow was set to music and one of the songs was 'Another One Bites the Dust.'
"I'm thinking, of course, it's a stupid thing to do," said another officer during an interview with internal affairs.
The slideshow appears to be pretty well thought out, even including ending credits and free copies for party guests. But not everyone felt it necessary to report it right away.
"I'm not going to call my boss on that right away, this was done, nobody, in my mind, nobody's running to the press," said the second officer.
In the end, the disciplinary review board recommended Mayo's termination and the suspension of four other officers involved who provided pictures.
Phoenix police sent us a statement saying:
"The unprofessional conduct of those involved in creating this video has been dealt with appropriately by the Department. One employee was terminated for her part in producing the video and four others received suspensions. The Phoenix Police Department is committed to ensuring the highest levels of public trust.
"The reports that you received a copy of will be all we are releasing and because we have received a notice of claim we will not be commenting further."
As we first reported in August, four of the disciplined officers filed suit against the city, asking for $2.9 million and accusing the city of botching the internal investigation and inflicting emotional distress. We reached out to their attorney but have yet to hear back.
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