Phoenix's Sixth Night of Police Brutality Protests Went Peacefully

A sixth straight night of protests in Phoenix drew heavy crowds that dispersed shortly after the state's 8 p.m. curfew. (Photo from June 1 protest.)
A sixth straight night of protests in Phoenix drew heavy crowds that dispersed shortly after the state's 8 p.m. curfew. (Photo from June 1 protest.) Jacob Tyler Dunn
The demonstration by Arizonans protesting the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd for a sixth straight night on Tuesday was reportedly the largest yet.

Despite tensions caused by clashes with police and looting in Scottsdale over the weekend, the June 2 event in Phoenix went off smoothly and peacefully. Crowds obeyed Governor Doug Ducey's emergency order from Sunday and dispersed not long after the 8 p.m. curfew arrived.

Part of Tuesday's event was organized by three churches whose Phoenix congregations are mostly Latino and African-American: All Souls Phoenix, Redemption Church Alhambra, and Roosevelt Community Church. Hundreds of people connected to that demonstration marched from Neighborhood Ministries, 1918 West Van Buren Street, to Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza at the Arizona Capitol complex.

Another large crowd of protesters walked the streets of downtown Phoenix, focusing on Phoenix City Hall and Phoenix police headquarters. There were no reports of vandalism or violence. Police were out in force, with the National Guard as backup. The peaceful George Floyd protests on Saturday night, by contrast, were followed by some protesters who vandalized police cars and broke windows in downtown Phoenix, plus a contingent of lawbreakers who looted and destroyed stores at Scottsdale Fashion Square mall. That led to Ducey's weeklong curfew order, which went into effect on Sunday night.

Demonstrations in Phoenix since the Sunday order have been subdued, with no major resistance to the curfew. While some disturbances were reported in other U.S. cities on Tuesday night, including a military helicopter hovering over protest crowds in Washington, D.C., crackdowns on the non-peaceful protesters seems to have ratcheted down the chaos, for now.

Protests are expected to continue this afternoon in Phoenix, with the "Defund Phoenix Police" rally planned by four groups: Poder in Action, Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro, Mass Liberation Arizona, and Fund for Empowerment.

"We will gather at the city council chambers at 1:30pm to Demand Mayor Gallego and Phoenix City council to defund the police," says a Facebook listing for the event. "Kate Gallego has not been very vocal during this process, it is time she take action and lead the council to defund the Phoenix police department and invest in services and programs that truly make our communities safe and healthy."

The groups want the city to take a portion of the public safety budget, which the Phoenix City Council is slated to vote on at today's formal council meeting, and instead invest in "mental health and trauma services, education and after-school care, adequate housing, healthcare, and employment," according to a form letter the site provided. The groups also want public schools to get rid of school resource officers until they can be held more accountable.

This morning, an online message from a protest supporter stated that the 1:30 p.m. rally at the City Council chambers will "morph into the regularly scheduled" 5 p.m. City Hall protest for the evening. (A high temperature of 110 is expected in Phoenix today.)

A "Peaceful Protest" is also being planned for 5 p.m. tonight at Cesar Chavez Park, 7858 South 35th Avenue in Laveen, to support Black Lives Matter. "Violence will be prohibited!" says an online flyer for the event.

Below: Tweets about the June 2 demonstrations:

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern