Police-shootings protest closes bridge in Phoenix suburb, activists arrested

Sep 26, 2016, 10:03 AM | Updated: 4:28 pm

PHOENIX — Three people were arrested during an activist-led protest over police shootings that blocked a bridge in suburban Phoenix on Monday.

The protest, led by the Rev. Jarrett Maupin, moved onto the northbound lanes of the Mill Avenue Bridge about 9:45 a.m. before moving to the southbound side about 10:05 a.m. Protesters left the roadway about 10:20 a.m.

About 100 people participated.

“Nothing good ever came from a sidewalk protest,” Maupin said Monday morning. He added the idea to block the bridge was in line with past civil rights protests and any assumptions that the protest would remain on the sidewalk were “racist.”

Maupin and two others were arrested.

All three — Maupin, Michael Moynihan and Calvin Hollins, Jr. — were charged with obstruction of a public thoroughfare and failure to obey a lawful order from a police officers.

Hollins was later found to have a city court warrant for disorderly conduct in Chandler.

Maupin said the protest was 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.

“Why is it always black kids getting killed? They’re our future. They’re killing our future,” Hollins’ mother, Sarah Coleman, said at the protest.

Maupin and other protesters called for the resignation of the officer who shot Hollins, 52-year-old Lt. Edward Ouimette, along with Chief Sylvia Moir.

“There is a conspiracy and a cover-up in Tempe,” Maupin said.

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.

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Police-shootings protest closes bridge in Phoenix suburb, activists arrested