Cops fire pepper balls into crowd to break up Phoenix protest against police brutality
Officers broke up a protest against police brutality over the weekend in Phoenix after demonstrators stood in a downtown street.
The march, which was organized on Facebook by Wave of Action PHX, began peacefully Saturday evening.
But police attempted to block about 40 to 50 demonstrators at an intersection, and officers tackled and arrested several protesters when they tried to cross illegally and stood in the intersection.
Some of the demonstrators threw flagpoles they were carrying at officers, reported the Arizona Republic.
A police officer dressed in tactical gear then fired pepper balls from a paintball gun at the crowd, reported The State Press.
A spokesman for Phoenix police said the demonstrators have free speech rights, but he said they must also obey the law.
“When (the protest) becomes disruptive, we have a duty to step in and protect everyone’s rights,” said Sgt. Jonathan Howard, of Phoenix police.
The six demonstrators, including a juvenile, who were arrested were charged with obstructing a public thoroughfare and failing to obey a police officer.
The protesters who threw flags at officers fled and have not been identified, police said.
Watch video of the incident posted online by E369102: