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Activist plans police-shootings protest to shut down Tempe bridge

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PHOENIX — A protest over two fatal shootings of black people by Phoenix-area police will seek to shut down a bridge in Tempe on Monday.

The protest, which is being led by activist the Rev. Jarrett Maupin, will attempt to block the Mill Avenue Bridge in Tempe between 9 a.m. and noon.

Maupin said the protest is in response to two shootings, one of which involved the Tempe Police Department. On July 27, officers fatally shot 19-year-old Dalvin Hollins who was suspected of committing a robbery.

The other shooting involved the Phoenix Police Department. In August 2014, an officer fatally shot 50-year-old Michelle Cusseaux while responding to a mental health check.

That officer, Sgt. Percy Dupra, was demoted about a year later after an internal review showed his use of force did not comply with departmental policy.

A Maricopa County Attorney’s Office review did not find any criminal offense on Dupra’s part.

The shooting also led then-Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia to call for more training for officers in dealing with those with mental health issues. He also apologized for the shooting.

Maupin led a protest earlier this year that drew about 1,000 protesters. What began as a peaceful demonstration got a little out of control after Maupin planned to block Interstate 10.

Though Maupin quickly changed his mind, several protesters clashed with police. Officers used pepper spray and tear gas to control the crowd.

Three people were arrested during the protest and at least six were injured.

Tempe Police said in a statement there were no plans to divert or shut down traffic.

The statement also recommended protesters keep to the sidewalk for their own safety and that “Anyone who chooses to interfere with traffic is subject to potential arrest and booking into jail.”

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