Phoenix Arizona: Hundreds protest the death of George Floyd

Phoenix Arizona: Hundreds of protesters marched from city hall in downtown Phoenix to State Capitol and police headquarters in the nationwide protests Thursday night following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man killed by police in Minneapolis on Monday.

The night began as a relatively peaceful protest at 7 p.m. The tension escalated further as the protesters threw stones and water bottles at the police during the night.

Prior to the start of the protest, ASU student unions refused to respond to Floyd’s death and the federal government, particularly in Minneapolis.

“The murder of George Floyd is the latest in a long history of police violence against Black Americans,” said Daniel Lopez, treasurer of the Students for Socialism and Senior Study Philosophy and Political Science at ASU.

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“What happened to George Floyd is not entirely unacceptable, but unfortunately has become an ideal for law enforcement in America,” said David Houman, president of ASU College Libertarians and a graduate student studying law studies.

Floyd’s arrest was captured on video and has since sparked outrage across the U.S., resulting in protests in Minneapolis since Tuesday and protests in Denver, Los Angeles and other cities.

“It is a civil duty to speak up and speak out against this behavior, because it is not just an isolated issue, it is something that America has to deal with. The protest against the abortion of this justice is proper,” said Houman.

At one point, protesters smashed the window behind a police SUV. At 9:40 pm. And in all the other protests, police used unlawful force, including what the protesters said were pepper spray, bean bag rounds and pepper balls.

Speeches at the protest demanded that Floyd be arrested for the murder of Derek Chauvin, an officer who had kneeling on his neck for eight minutes.

Chauvin was arrested Friday morning and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “Tell His Name” were downtown as protest leaders described Antonio Ars’ death at the hands of police officers, who initially had no charges.

Later, the protesters began throwing more water bottles, stones and other items at the police headquarters, and the police, wearing riot gear, began trying to disperse the crowd.

At 11 pm, the protest was declared an illegal assembly, but protesters responded with slogans such as “I can’t shy away” on the ground near 7th Avenue. Floyd said the neck was pushed to the ground at the time of the arrest.

To move protesters away from police headquarters, police began deploying OC spray, bean bag rounds and pepper balls, according to a statement from the Phoenix Police Department.

At a press conference Friday, Phoenix Police Chief Gerry Williams said the police would uphold the right of people to protest peacefully, but when things turn criminal, the police will respond accordingly.

“We cannot and will not tolerate criminal activity,” Williams said.

According to Sgt. Mercedes Fortune, a protestor, was sent to hospital by ambulance and eight others were arrested, a statement said.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Galego issued a statement Friday asking whether her work during the protests was “right to stand up and demand change.”

“We have to set high standards for all government employees, including law enforcement,” Gallego wrote in a statement. “I ask the residents to continue to look after each other and find it hurtful.”

The All Black Lives Matter Arizona organized a protest called “Stand with Minneapolis: Justice for George Floyd” in Phoenix to show solidarity and support for the Floyd family, according to a Facebook event post.

The Minneapolis Police Department fired four police officers involved in the arrest that led to Floyd’s death, but during the protest, no one was arrested.

The Star Tribune Wednesday night protests “began peacefully and gunfire and gunfire erupted. About 30 buildings were set on fire and countless others were damaged.”

The Phoenix Event Post told attendees to bring signs, bullhorns, water, friends and neighbors “because what’s happening here in Minneapolis can happen here, and as long as we stay quiet and subdued here and elsewhere.”

Black Lives Matter urged people not to attend the protest, as the Phoenix metro group has nothing to do with “All Black Lives Matter Arizona” … or Jarrett Maupin.

Maupin is a controversial figure, especially in situations involving police. Students were urged not to attend the protest. The State Press reported in April 2019 that Mappin would apologize for the racist and homophobic posts held by him, College Republicans United.

Members of the ASU student body commented on Floyd’s death, saying there were some auxiliary charges against police officers involved in the murder. ASU Students for Socialism participated in the protest.

Justin Remelius, Chair of America’s ASU’s Young Democratic Socialists and Studying Philosophy and Political Science, urged people not to attend the protest and to donate in return.
Joe Pitts, president of ASU College Republicans and a business law student, said he was proud of the police who followed the rules and served the unions, but said the officers involved in the killing were charged with wrongful murder.

“How many more people must we kill before we can start holding people accountable?” Said Howman.

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