PHOENIX — Governor Ducey spoke out for the first time Thursday after seven nights of protesting across Arizona over the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the deadly shooting of Dion Johnson in Phoenix by a DPS trooper.
Governor Ducey stated that he and leaders of the African American community have met and will continue to meet to implement change. He also went on to say, "passions were very high in the room."
Governor Ducey spoke on the protests at a press conference Thursday before giving the latest updates on the coronavirus. Watch that video in the player below.
"In Arizona, we will listen to those who want to have a civil discourse to ensure that it never happens again in the United States of America. And that we make the proper reforms at the state, national and federal levels," Ducey said.
Ducey also emphasized that he recognizes the difference between the looters and peaceful protesters in Arizona, particularly after rioters broke into several shops at Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall over the weekend causing serious damage.
"Arizona will not confuse peaceful protesters and demonstrators with looters and rioters. We will protect peace and to honor George Floyd's memory," Ducey said.
Going forward, Ducey says he wants people's constitutional first amendment rights to be protected by continuing to have peaceful dialogue in Arizona.
"This has been a time where people want to be heard, they've seen an injustice, they want to see change and in Arizona, we are able to do it in a safe and peaceful way," Ducey said. "It is incumbent on all of us to minimize and eliminate [racism]."
Locally, protesters continue to ask officials for more details and accountability in regards to the death of Dion Johnson, who was shot by a DPS trooper on Loop 101 on May 25.
DPS Director, Colonel Heston Silbert said DPS officials have not released the names of the troopers who were involved in the shooting due to pending investigations.
Wednesday, DPS dispatch audio was released that shed more light on what happened the day of the shooting, but also raised more questions.
"We always know we can do a better job in law enforcement and we understand we are only as strong as the violations that one person commits. And unfortunately, we all have to answer for that, but if improvement comes from that, and it certainly should from this situation, I hope for better days ahead," Colonel Silbert said.
Phoenix police have taken over the criminal investigation portion of Johnson's death but have so far released very little information.
While protests have continued to be peaceful in downtown Phoenix for three straight nights, a curfew still remains in place through Sunday night.
"We'll see as the weekend approaches," Gov. Ducey said in regards to extending or shortening the 8 p.m. curfew