Tempe police investigate officer who held Black man at gunpoint during search for white suspect

Tempe police investigate officer who held Black man at gunpoint during search for white suspect
The Tempe Police Department's Professional Standards Bureau is investigating the Aug. 29 incident. (Source: AZ Family)

TEMPE, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Tempe police are investigating an officer after the department says he held a Black man at gunpoint during a search for a white suspect.

According to information from the Tempe Police Department, the officer, identified in an AZ Family report as Ronald Kerzaya, has been placed in an administrative role until the investigation is complete. Read the AZ Family report HERE.

The incident happened at the Hawthorn Suites, 2301 E. Southern Avenue, on Aug. 29. The hotel manager had called police to report that a man had pointed a gun at an employee.

Police said the manager described the suspect as a Caucasian male wearing a black shirt and tan pants.

Kerzaya went to an area outside the hotel where the suspect was believed to possibly be. A few minutes later, a Black man exited the hotel and identified himself as an employee.

Kerzaya held the man at gunpoint until he could confirm that he was an employee of the hotel.

Kerzaya released the employee after confirming the man was an employee with the assistance of Tempe Police Dispatch.

The armed suspect was not located.

Tempe Mayor Corey D. Woods called the incident “extremely regrettable” and said the city council has called for the formation of a community-based Public Safety Advisory Board in Tempe.

Police said its initial review indicates that this incident was not handled in accordance with the professionalism and respectful behavior that the department, and the public, expects from its officers. The department’s Professional Standards Bureau is conducting an internal investigation into the incident.

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