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Chandler police make 'select arrests' of 'instigators and agitators' during protest

Chandler police make 'select arrests' of 'instigators and agitators' during protest
Posted at 7:17 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 22:56:36-04

Specific activists were singled out and arrested Friday night while protesting the shooting death of Anthony Cano.

Cano is the 17-year-old who was shot in the back twice while running from a Chandler police officer on January 2. The entire body camera footage, released roughly two months after the shooting, reveals the teen had thrown his gun and was unarmed when he was shot a second time while lying face down.

Chandler police handcuffed five protesters they called "instigators and agitators." Court documents state "command made the decision to order select arrests...in order to try and get the group to back down."

There were at least 15 other protesters, also "obstructing a thoroughfare," that were not arrested.

Christina Carter is a defense attorney representing one of the protesters, Darien Barrett. Carter tells ABC15 that the officers appear to have engaged in "selective prosecution" which she says is both problematic and unlawful.

The protest Friday was the third straight week friends, family, and activists have demonstrated outside Chandler police headquarters.

"We wanted to stand up against that [violence] and hopefully bring some sort of change or justice for the Cano family," said Kai Graham, an ASU student who was arrested later in the night.

The demonstration outside police headquarters and city hall was uneventful until the group moved to the streets and began marching.

"We got three blocks," said Darien Barrett, a frequent protester of Valley police departments.

"We were going to the park to pay tribute to where Anthony [Cano] was shot and killed," said Phil Martinez, who said he helped lead and organize the event.

"How much further would you have had to walk?" "Two more blocks."

Phil Martinez had a bullhorn and was leading many of the chants. In their police report, officers noted the chants were "anti-police" and say their officers were "met with violent statements and vulgarity."

"Violent statements and vulgarity are not a crime," noted Carter.

As the group marched, slowing down traffic behind them Chandler police made the decision to try and stop the group at the next major intersection.

Officers wrote, "the only objective of police at this point was to get them to continue this protest from the sidewalk so no persons were endangered by being in the street."

As officers set up vehicles and a loose "line" to try and stop the group from continuing.

Unsurprisingly, the group protesting the police ignored the officers and continued past them. At that point, officers arrested Martinez.

As Martinez was being handcuffed, Chandler police allege another protester, Ryan Tice, tried to "interfere" and "pushed past two Gilbert police officers."

He was not charged with assault but was charged with "resisting arrest" for allegedly refusing to "pull his hands out from under his body."

Darien Barrett was arrested after he was shoved, while retreating onto the sidewalk.

"I was yanked off the sidewalk. Dragged, brutally beaten," said Barrett.

Despite multiple other protesters around him, Barrett was singled out, grabbed, and dragged back across the "skirmish line."

Officers say Barrett was one of the members of the group that "continued to ignore commands" to get out of the road.

"They targeted specific people for a reason," said Martinez, who like Barrett, has been arrested numerous times for protesting the police.

A Chandler police spokesperson told ABC15 over the phone that no excessive force was used and no "use of force" reports were filled out following the protest arrests.

"I was pointed out by these officers," said Barrett. "They should've let us keep going...as long as we are peaceful, allow us to do what we are doing."

Body cameras were being worn by the officers, but that video has not been released or obtained yet. It will likely show Kai Graham's arrest, which was not filmed by any of the fellow protesters.

"I was just walking back to my car," said Graham, a psychology major at ASU.

"Three [squad] cars just pulled up on me real quick. A bunch of officers ran out and pushed me over the hood of their car," said Graham.

In court documents, Graham's potential involvement with the "instigators and agitators" is that they were "carrying a large banner...in the very front of the group."

"I’m really not a leader or anything. I was just there," said Graham.

"You ever been arrested before?" "No, first time," Graham replied.

"They did too much for a group of 30 protesters," said Barrett.

Now Chandler's city prosecutors will have to decide whether or not to continue pursuing the charges in the courtroom.

"Hopefully they will be dropped," said Graham.

Already, dozens of charges have been dropped against police protesters from this summer in Phoenix, after ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing exposed serious issues with the arresting officers, the detention of the protesters, and the securing of certain charges by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Protesters say regardless of what happens with the charges from Friday, the City of Chandler should prepare for more demonstrations.

"We are going to be out there every Friday until the officer is fired," said Martinez.