SCOTTSDALE, AZ — A group gathered at Scottsdale City Hall Wednesday morning protesting the requirement of face coverings and masks in public places.
The group argued wearing a mask should be a "personal choice" and not a legal requirement.
During the protest, Scottsdale councilman Guy Phillips said to the crowd, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” in reference to the death of George Floyd, before taking his mask off.
He then went on to say he would, "happily wear a mask out of respect for my fellow citizens, but when government threatens me with fines or possible arrests if I don’t conform, then I protest.”
Phillips then told the crowd, "We are not in Russia! We are in the USA. We can make our own choices."
Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane weighed in Twitter saying, "Councilman Phillips' comments at his anti-mask protest rally today at City Hall do not represent the values of our Scottsdale community. I share the profound disappointment expressed by many residents at the words Mr. Phillips chose- to use the phrase "I can't breathe" during this moment in time was callous and insensitive. I sincerely hope he understands how wrong that was and offers a sincere apology."
Councilman Phillips' comments at his anti-mask protest rally today at City Hall do not represent the values of our Scottsdale community. I share the profound disappointment expressed by many residents at the words Mr. Phillips chose... 1/— Mayor W.J. Jim Lane (@MayorJimLane) June 24, 2020
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey agreed, saying, "It's just flat out wrong. Despicable doesn't go far enough. The final words of George Floyd should NEVER be invoked like this. Anyone who mocks the murder of a fellow human has no place in public office. Period."
Arizona Senator Martha McSally also took Phillips to task, saying his choice of words was "despicable."