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More Protests Planned For Phoenix, Tempe Friday

(Jimmy Jenkins - KJZZ News)
On July 8, hundreds turned out in Phoenix to protest as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. One example of people's elevated reactions to policing.

A week after hundreds marched through Phoenix as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, community activists are holding another round of protests Friday evening.  

Two separate rallies will take place about 8 p.m. One at Camelback Road and 24 th Street and the other in downtown Tempe. Both rallies are in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Reverend Jarrett Maupin, who led last week’s march, said they  plan to shut down the Camelback intersection to denounce police violence and push for reforms.

“We are stopping business as usual in the Camelback Corridor,” Maupin said, “The big frustration is that America won’t have this difficult conversation about racism. We’re holding this protest to say we need to talk about it.”

Maupin said he expects the protest to stay non-violent and he’s been in contact with Phoenix Police about the arrangements.

A spokesperson for the Phoenix Police Department has said any serious disruptions that violate state and city laws, including obstructing the roadway, will get people arrested. Two of the city’s bus routes could be interrupted and riders may have to go to the street over to be picked up, local transit officials said.

Maupin’s outlined a dozen reforms for the city’s police department, including expediting the body camera program and heightening scrutiny of officers involved in controversial shootings.

Last week’s protest brought hundreds to downtown Phoenix. Police used pepper spray and arrested several people, but other than that, the crowd remained mostly peaceful.

Competing interests

While Maupin has been one of the most visible faces of Black Lives Matter in Phoenix recently, some in the community contend he is not a representative of the movement.

Reverend Reginald Walton of Phillips Memorial Christian Methodist Episcopal Church said he was elected as chair of the Arizona chapter back in 2014 and last week’s march was “not sanctioned by the Arizona Black Lives Matter Campaign.” He said they are in the process of getting an official charter from the national organization.

Since they began their campaign, Walton said they have been working with law enforcement and city leaders to reform police policies. The other organizers, which have a Facebook page entitled “Black Lives Matter Arizona,” are co-opting the message, Walton said, including by threatening to shut down the freeway during the march.

“It’s not about putting people in jeopardy and putting the lives of police officers in jeopardy and putting them in awkward positions, either,” Walton said.

Walton said they plan to hold a town hall to address community relations with the police on Monday at his church in Phoenix.  

“The message is de-escalation of force and positive change for the community. We are highly critical of law enforcement because we love law enforcement,” Walton said “We respect the legal system; however, we must address the violence coming from it.”

No 'muckety mucks'

Maupin dismissed Walton’s claims that he does not have legitimacy within the movement.

“There aren’t chair people, regional directors. There aren’t muckety mucks with titles. The whole point of Black Lives Matter was to be decentralized, fluid, something very grassroots,” he said.

Maupin said he is in regular contact with prominent leaders of the movement and believes their threat to shut down the freeway was, in fact, a resounding success.

“We were the one city that got the interstate closed down without anyone actually having to go on it. I think it’s wonderful.”

Maupin’s protest isn’t the only one slated for Friday evening. A rally is planned for downtown Tempe at 8p.m., beginning at S Wilson Street & W 9 th Street.

The Facebook event page, titled “Tempe March Against Police Violence,” describes it as “in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. We encourage ALL individuals and groups to come out and show their support.”

KJZZ was only able to reach one of the Facebook event organizers who said she would not discuss the rally, except that it is not affiliated with Maupin’s Camelback protest. The Tempe rally is scheduled to begin near Wilson and 9th street. The actual route of that march has not been announced yet.

A spokesperson for the Tempe police department would not discuss the department's plan, but in a statement said “Tempe PD respects and supports that people have a right to express their views and to assemble in a peaceful manner.  We trust that tomorrow’s march will be a peaceful one, however, we do have contingency plans in place if need be.”

Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.