Phoenix Protesters Decry Shooting of Michael Brown; More Rallies This Weekend

Scrivner.jpg
Ashley Cusick
Garrett Scrivner, 21, at the protest.
Robert Ramirez carried a sign that said: "Hands Up Don't Shoot."

He was among a throng of protesters gathered in Eastlake Park in Phoenix as part of the Nationwide Day of Rage, a nationally coordinated effort to protest the shooting death of Michael Brown and subsequent turmoil between police and protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.

See also:
-Phoenix Rally Organized in Response to Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson

More than 20 people, representing a variety of races and ages, gathered in the park yesterday for the event. Many of the protesters wore masks or bandanas to partially obscure their faces.

The protesters came for many reasons, but there was consensus. All called for the arrest of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown; several called for mandatory dashboard cameras in officers' cars or for lapel-pin cameras on officers themselves; and the group expressed a general call for major changes in police interaction with citizens, though these calls ranged in severity from suggestions that police receive better training to cries for the whole-scale abolition of police forces.

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Ashley Cusick
Robert Ramirez, 21, stands at front with his sign.

Ramirez is a senior at ASU. This was his first protest. "I think, largely, the police are good," he said. "They are trying to do their jobs. But they are trained to use almost excessive force. If not given almost complete control over the situation, they will take it by force."

Ramirez is troubled by what he's seen in Ferguson: "When they instill a curfew without the people's consent and then enforce it with that level of force, in my opinion that's no different than declaring martial law."

Coi Smith wore a shirt that said: "Listen to the People." She said she's witnessed Tempe Police using excessive force. Smith said she's sick of the shooting of African-American citizens by police. "It's a genocide. It's an epidemic. And it needs to be addressed."

Garrett Scrivner wore a white polo shirt that said "Don't Shoot" on the front and "Arrest Me, I'm Black" on the back.

"I don't think it's just about Mike Brown," he said. "It's about Jonathan Ferrell, Oscar Grant, it's about all of them. It's not just 'Oh, one more.' That's the last one," he said.

"I came out here because I don't want to have to talk to my kids about how they're going to be looked at differently," Scrivner said. "I don't have kids yet, but when I do, I don't want to have to have that talk."

Scrivner said he understands the anger coming out of Ferguson. "They're getting fed a spoonful of hate every day," he said.

Noah Makara, originally from Chicago, said he loves living in Arizona because it has some of the most open gun laws in the country. But Makara sees himself as a responsible gun owner, and what he's seen from the police in incidents like Brown's shooting just doesn't make sense to him.

"I exercise my right to carry," he said. "But it should be a last resort. Violence is not the answer. It shouldn't be used as a first resort. It should be used as a last."

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Ashley Cusick
A group of protesters at the event.

The gathering was the first in a series of such events taking place in Phoenix in the next few days.

On Saturday afternoon, a rally is scheduled at 1 p.m. outside US Airways Center downtown. That group is to hold a family-friendly peace walk afterward from 2 to 3 p.m. Organizers ask participants to wear white.

On Saturday evening, a second gathering is scheduled to take place. Protesters are asked to wear black for this event. "An attack on Ferguson is an attack on Phoenix," the flyer for it reads. The gathering is to begin at 8 p.m. at the corner of North Central Avenue and East Van Buren Street.

On Sunday, a town hall meeting with Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia and Mayor Greg Stanton is scheduled at the civic building at Steele Indian School Park at 2 p.m. The panel discussion is slated to address the events in Ferguson, as well as a recent officer-involved shooting in Phoenix. Last week, mentally ill Michele Cusseaux was killed by a Phoenix police officer asked to conduct a welfare check on her. Garcia has referred the case to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Yesterday's protest lasted several hours. After the first hour or so, 13 protesters left the park and marched through streets. As they walked, they chanted: "No justice, no peace, fuck the police" and "Hey, hey, ho, ho, killer cops have got to go."

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Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Ashley Cusick on Twitter at @AshleyBCusick.


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10 comments
RobertGraham29
RobertGraham29

Do you also plan to rally to decry the shooting of the white boy in Salt Lake City by a black cop? Either you do or you shut the fuck up about Michael Brown!

UraHack
UraHack

All it takes is half a dozen people to create a tidal wave of change. So brave.

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

Coi Smith is sickened by blacks being shot by the police she/he goes so far as to call it genocide that's its an epidemic .

Companies that are looking to hire should set up some tables at U.S. AIRWAYS CENTER this weekend and hold a job fair

beatsnotbrutality
beatsnotbrutality

will there be a drum circle at saturday's rally? signs and chanting are very effective, but there's no problem that a drum circle can't solve.

johnQcitizen
johnQcitizen

@devilsbeatwildscats 


All the Afros? Do you mean hairstyles? or African-Americans? I'm guessing hairdos, because not all black people are of African descent.

marcy
marcy

@UraHack But usually they turn out to be a bunch of ignorant malcontents who don't have a clue what they are muttering about.

marcy
marcy

@john043012

Coi is just another person who misuses the word genocide.  Maybe it sounds catchy or rolls off the tongue but it is completely the wrong word to use.


It makes Coi seem either ignorant or deliberately dishonest.  Or maybe a combination of the two.

john043012
john043012 topcommenter

@beatsnotbrutality Maybe they can get Kalani Das to be the facilitator he has won 7 awards from drum magazine

johnQcitizen
johnQcitizen

@marcy @UraHack 

You know this from attending so many and talking to folks?

I have attended many rallies on varying issues and always find a genial, well read group of well spoken people.


Even a few police, who are just observing, not aiming...

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