PHOENIX — Phoenix police are investigating after racist chants interrupted the funeral service for former Phoenix City Councilman and Vice Mayor Calvin C. Goode.
During Tuesday morning memorial services held virtually, someone forced their way into the video, yelling racist remarks.
Vice Mayor Goode was just the second African American elected to the Phoenix City Council, and his 23-years of service are the most in the council's history.
"He dedicated his entire life to giving back to others," said Jevin Hodge, who is now the President of the Booker T. Washington Child Development Program, a Head Start initiative that Goode founded alongside his wife.
"For individuals to degrade him, deface him and his honor and his legacy, in his final hours, and his funeral. It’s disgusting," continued Hodge.
"We were deprived of the opportunity to mourn a great leader today," said Mayor Gallego, who also said she was disgusted by the racist attack.
Mayor Gallego and many others are refusing to reflect much on the racism and are taking the opportunity to highlight the incredible life Calvin C. Goode lived. "He pushed for affordable housing, for equity, for investing in our young people and programs such as Head Start."
"The legacy that Mr. Goode had was one that preached just the opposite of what they were doing," said Cloves Campbell, a friend of Mr. Goode and the publisher and owner of the Arizona Informant Newspaper.
"He would be upset [by the racist attack] but at the same time he would ask people to remain calm and understand, there’s still a lot of work to be done," said Campbell.
Phoenix detectives are currently "reviewing the video, talking to people, trying to identify this person or persons."
It is unclear if the racist responsible for shouting the N-word hacked into the virtual service or simply joined and unmuted themselves.
"That is all under investigation," said Sgt. Maggie Cox, a spokesperson for Phoenix police. "But the Phoenix Police Department takes these crimes seriously and will fully investigate."
The department has seen a disturbing rise in hate crimes in the City of Phoenix. In the first nine months of 2018 there were 26 racially motivated attacks against African Americans in Phoenix. That number more than doubled to 59 in 2019, in the same period.
In 2020 the crimes increased yet again, when the department reported 68 Anti-Black hate crimes through September.
"I am deeply concerned about the active organizing of white supremacists throughout the United States," said Mayor Gallego. "We are committed to tracking, to investigating, and to stopping these attacks."
As for Vice Mayor Goode, a racist troll cannot tarnish a towering life of meaning and selflessness.
"I plan to continue and carry out his legacy and service," said Hodge.
"It makes those who did this look like a fool," said Cloves.
I condemn the racists who disrupted Vice Mayor Goode’s funeral services. This is horrific and does not represent the values & commitment of our community. I am determined to continue Vice Mayor Goode’s fight.— Mayor Kate Gallego (@MayorGallego) January 12, 2021
Representative Greg Stanton said the actions were an "outrage" and "...the entire Goode family is as tough as he was, and they will not be deterred."
It’s an outrage that Councilman Calvin Goode's memorial was interrupted by hate-spewing white supremacists. They came after Calvin after his death because he defeated them all while he was alive. The entire Goode family is as tough as he was, and they will not be deterred.— Greg Stanton (@gregstantonaz) January 12, 2021
Representative Ruben Gallego's tweet read: "The Honorable Calvin C. Goode served Phoenix and our communities with love, perseverance and commitment for decades. He deserves to be laid to rest with deep respect and gratitude, not hateful racist remarks."
Senator Kyrsten Sinema also spoke out on Twitter, saying, "Calvin Goode worked relentlessly to make Arizona a better place. Fortunately, his legacy is too strong to be harmed by such disgusting behavior."
Jevin Hodge, who ran for election to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, also said online that "these actions are horrific, disgusting, and are a plague to this country."
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey tweeted, "Former councilman Calvin Goode was a civil rights leader who served with honor and distinction. The racist and abhorrent remarks made during his funeral service today are wrong and I condemn them. Those responsible must be held accountable. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones. May he rest in peace. "
Goode was an advocate for minorities, women’s rights, and the rights of the LGBTQ community. He also played a major role in getting the city to officially observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a holiday.
In honor of his years of service to the city, a city building at 251 W Washington Street was named in Goode’s honor. The building is inscribed with the following message: “Guided by a deeply held belief in God and in the equality of all people, his lifetime exemplified a powerful commitment to improving the quality of life in Phoenix, especially for young people."