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Police: More than 100 arrested after Saturday protest in Phoenix

Phoenix protest - May 30 Danny Bavaro14.png
Posted at 10:15 AM, May 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-31 15:46:42-04

PHOENIX — More than 100 people were arrested and/or detained in Saturday's protests in downtown Phoenix, the Phoenix Police Department said Sunday.

People were arrested for rioting, unlawful assembly, and aggravated assault of a police officer, the police department said in a news release, and a "handful" of juveniles were detained for curfew violations, rioting, and unlawful assembly.

For the third night in a row, groups of people gathered outside the Phoenix Police Department's headquarters and at the State Capitol in downtown Phoenix to protest recent incidents with police, including the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the shooting death of Dion Johnson in Phoenix.

PHOTOS: Protesters gather in downtown Phoenix, Scottsdale

As happened on Friday night, Saturday's protest began primarily peaceful with people marching along streets, holding signs, and chanting. Group leaders and speakers even encouraged attendees to remain peaceful.

Around 10:20 p.m. police declared the gathering to be an "unlawful assembly" and told the crowds to disperse. However, hundreds of people defied the order and remained in downtown Phoenix, which prompted police to react with flash-bangs, tear gas, and non-lethal rounds to try and disperse the crowd.

Like Friday night's protest, some individuals also committed arson, damaged buildings and stores, and assault, police said.

People remained in downtown Phoenix until 3:30 a.m., police said.

"Our officers kept our City [safe] and criminal activity was not tolerated," the Phoenix Police Department said in a statement. "We would ask if anyone has information related to individuals who were involved in crimes such as criminal damage and assaults to contact Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS."

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey released a statement on Sunday morning commending law enforcement for taking a more aggressive approach on Saturday night, while also condemning the vandalism and looting that took place in Scottsdale.

"One thing is clear: The more aggressive approach downtown was needed, and it worked. Now, more needs to be done, in more places around the state, to protect law and order and public safety," Ducey's statement read. "The looting and violence we saw last night, especially in Scottsdale, simply cannot be tolerated. And it won't be. Destruction of property does not qualify as freedom of expression."

Ducey also called the death of Floyd "tragic and abhorred" and said "it should be condemned by leaders at all levels."

On Saturday night, a large group of people also gathered in Scottsdale where restaurants, businesses, and Scottsdale Fashion Square mall were heavily damaged.