PHOENIX — A nationally known police-reform advocate has filed a $2.4 million legal claim against the City of Phoenix relating to his August arrest.
Bruce Franks Jr. said he's being politically prosecuted after leading the "Blue Silence March" in Phoenix on August 9, the sixth anniversary of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri. About 50 people attended the march.
"We are the accountability measure in so many ways for the government, for the police, for everything that’s happening," Franks said.
Before moving to Arizona, Franks fought for police reform as a protest leader in Ferguson and as a Missouri state representative. He's also a well-known battle rapper. A documentary film about his life, St. Louis Superman, was nominated for a 2020 Academy Award.
A Phoenix police report said Franks "did not comply and pushed hard against the officer's shields." Franks was arrested and charged with felonies including aggravated assault on an officer, rioting, and resisting arrest.
In response to the legal claim, Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune issued a statement saying the department "respects the rights of all community members to exercise their first amendment rights. During demonstrations, our goal is to ensure the safety of everyone involved."
She added arrests made by the Phoenix Police Department are not based on race, sex, or religion.