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Outside the Phoenix offices of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, members of the Handmaids Resistance quietly protested all day Thursday.EXPAND
Outside the Phoenix offices of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, members of the Handmaids Resistance quietly protested all day Thursday.
Elizabeth Whitman/Phoenix New Times

‘No on Kavanaugh': During Protest, Four Women Arrested At Sen. Flake's Office

Four women were arrested on Thursday while protesting U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at Arizona Senator Jeff Flake’s office in Phoenix.

The site has been home to frequent protests in recent days following Flake's excruciating indecision on whether he'll vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the High Court.

Police have not yet released their names, but according to activists and a GoFundMe account to raise bail, they are Brianna Westbrook, Julie Golding, LaDawn Stuben and Natacha Chavez.

Westbrook is a former Democratic candidate for state Senate in District 22 and U.S. Congress in the 8th congressional district. Stuben is also a former Democratic candidate who ran to represent District 18 in the Arizona Legislature.

Eleven people, including the four women who were arrested, made appointments with Flake’s office on Thursday between 11:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. They wanted to deliver 90,000 signatures collected online and in person urging Flake to vote against confirming Kavanaugh, said Jenna McAllister, an activist with groups including AZ Resist and Handmaids Resistance Phoenix.

The Phoenix Police Department said the women were being charged with criminal trespassing, a misdemeanor. They sat outside the doors of the office at 2200 East Camelback Road and refused to leave after being asked by owners to do so, police said.

Police arrested them around 12:30 p.m. and booked them into the Maricopa County Jail. 

A Senate vote on Kavanaugh could happen as early as Friday.

In early September, Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor, publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. The Senate Judiciary Committee heard separate testimonies from Ford and Kavanaugh on September 27.

The next day, Flake voted to move Kavanaugh's confirmation out of committee and to the full Senate floor, on the condition that the FBI re-open an investigation into Kavanaugh's background. That investigation has wrapped up, and Flake remains as equivocal as ever about how he'll vote.

A GoFundMe campaign to cover bail for the arrested women has already raised $1,197; the campaign's goal was $1,000.

By 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, the crowd of protesters outside Flake's office had largely subsided. A half dozen women from Handmaids Resistance remained, clad in the red cloaks and white bonnets that women are forced to wear in the dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale, in which society attempts to reduce women to little more than reproductive vessels.

McAllister said that the women from Handmaids Resistance had arrived around 11:30 a.m. They planned to remain until 7 p.m., when they would move to the Maricopa County Jail, hold a vigil for the women who were arrested, and pick them up once they're released.

Last Friday, more than 100 demonstrators gathered to urge the senator to vote against Kavanaugh's confirmation. On Wednesday evening and on Thursday, counter-demonstrators with the right-wing Patriot Movement showed up, too.

Members from the Patriot Movement shouted "the usual" taunts, McAllister said — not threats of physical harm, she said, "just the typical hate speech." 

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