Social Justice

Protesters' indictments on gang-related charges criticized by attorneys, advocates

Gang-related charges brought by a Maricopa County prosecutor against 15 people protesting police violence drew condemnation from attorneys and community advocates, who said the charges were far too harsh and could intimidate people from exercising their free-speech rights. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office suggested the charges to a grand jury, which returned the indictment last week. The protesters worked together so they couldn't get arrested and turned violent when officers apprehended

Women gather at Phoenix courthouse to protest Amy Coney Barrett's planned confirmation

About 20 women, most of whom are attorneys, dressed in red cloaks and white hoods, walked synchronized in silence in front of the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse in downtown Phoenix on Sunday to honor late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and to protest the plan to replace her with Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Christina Carter, an attorney who has represented many people arrested at protests against police violence this year, was one of the organizers for the event. The cloaks and hood

Gila County woman says she was forced to drink from jail toilet in lawsuit against Sheriff's Office

A 63-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit against the Gila County Sheriff's Office alleging she was falsely imprisoned, assaulted and the county intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon her after she was forced to drink toilet water in the county jail. Tamara Barnicoat, a grandmother who lives in Miami, Arizona, was arrested on Oct. 10, 2019, during a mental health crisis, the lawsuit said. She spent 27 days without her medication prescribed to treat bipolar disorder and depression before

'It's caused us to become targets': 7 arrested in connection to Saturday protest

A protest calling for racial justice and equity began with mindful breathing, closed with a dance party and ended with seven arrests of protesters who were walking to their cars or already driving home Saturday evening. Earlier that evening, Lee Percy Christian — known as Percy — had given a speech to protesters about his experience being targeted by police. "We were in the streets, we were called civil disobedience, good trouble. But it's caused us to become targets," Christian said in the sp

Black Lives Matter mural organizer to host news conference on Phoenix's denial of street mural plan

A Phoenix activist will hold a press conference on Monday morning to address the city denying a request for a Black Lives Matter street mural. The conference will begin at 10 a.m. on the steps of City Hall in downtown Phoenix, said Gizette Knight, one of the organizers. She said she will be addressing inaccuracies in the city manager's letter denying the request and taking questions from the media. The proposed mural would have said "Black Lives Matter" on Third Street between Jefferson and Ja

Woman says she was hurt while being arrested in connection with protest she didn't attend

A Phoenix woman says police injured her while arresting her Friday in connection with a protest that she did not attend and for which charges against her were dropped the next day. Leslie Pico has been an active protester since late May, but she didn't attend the protest Friday commemorating the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech. She had celebrated her 34th birthday the day before and said she was taking a bre

Phoenix rally planned in solidarity with March on Washington

Fifty-seven years ago, thousands of activists marched through Washington D.C., including Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis, to call for racial equality and justice. Tonight, activists will do the same locally. The W.E. Rising Project is hosting a demonstrative rally at 6 p.m. Friday at City Hall Plaza, 251 W. Washington St. "It's really an honor to be able to, even for a brief moment" stand on the shoulders of giants who helped pave the way for civil rights," said Jacob Raiford, communicat

Tempe PD pepper sprayed demonstrators at Saturday ‘chalk walk’ protest

A creative protest supporting the Black Lives Matters movement at Tempe Marketplace Saturday went from chalk art to chaos when Tempe police officers tackled three people to the ground and arrested them, while other officers used pepper spray on protesters who were obeying police commands to back up. Lisa Vu, who posted videos of what happened to her Instagram account, was filming as officers arrested and tackled a protester around 8 p.m. When she and Ryan Tice, another protester, asked the officers what the person was being arrested for, one responded, “None of your business.”

Trump protest turns violent when Phoenix PD fires flash-bangs, pepper balls

A peaceful protest of President Donald Trump outside of Dream City Church ended quickly Tuesday afternoon as the president spoke to some 3,000 attendees when Phoenix police officers fired flash-bang grenades, pepper balls and pepper spray into the crowd of more than 200 people, declaring it unlawful. The protest, organized by the W.E. Rising Project, walked from Cave Creek and Cactus roads in northeast Phoenix to the designated “free speech zone” surrounded by gates outside the church, about a half-mile away. After chanting in the zone, and running into about 10 counter-protesters,

Scottsdale police violence protest shuts down Old Town

As thousands marched through Old Town Scottsdale Sunday evening, united to protest police brutality against minorities, their chants echoed off the shops and restaurants that line Scottsdale Road and the surrounding area: “Say their names!” “No justice, no peace!” “I can’t breathe!” The protest was one of several on the 11th consecutive night of demonstrations across Arizona, sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer in Minnesota on May 25. That same day, Dion Johnson was shot and killed by a state trooper while sleeping in his car parked on the Loop 101 freeway. There has been little transparency from Phoenix Police Department, which is investigating the shooting, or the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and many questions remain about what happened that led an officer to shoot and kill the unarmed Johnson.

Black mothers: Action needed to keep our children alive

The 100 or so people who gathered in Eastlake Park near downtown Phoenix early Saturday evening heard one message over and over: Black lives matter to Black mothers. Janelle Wood, founder of Black Mothers Forum, led the event. She invited mothers, fathers, sons and daughters to join her briefly on stage in solidarity. Speakers, including youth activists, faith leaders, parents and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, spoke about what it means to be Black in America, ways the state and country can continue this dialogue and why this conversation on race is important.

First of the first responders

PHOENIX – After nearly two decades, tens of thousands of calls and countless crises, a series of four calls broke Lauren Pacimeo. As a 911 dispatcher for the fire department, Pacimeo is trained to keep her composure on calls and always has. But in November, her 18 years in the dispatch room caught up with her. The first call was a battalion chief’s 14-year-old son with a fatal gunshot wound. Then she responded to a fire next to her aunt’s house. And after that, her friend dialed 911 when her s
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