Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from June 7-9

Jun 9, 2019, 6:00 PM

A potential lawsuit involving the city of Phoenix sparked by the Plain View Project, a pair of fires and the indefinite suspension of tariffs on Mexico.

Here are some stories that headlined the news cycle, both locally and nationally, over the weekend.

Man shot in the groin with pepper ball at Trump protest suing Phoenix

The man shot in the groin with a non-lethal weapon by police during a protest outside a 2017 Phoenix appearance by President Donald Trump intends to sue the city.

Joshua Cobin told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday that seeing Facebook posts by police officers that mocked the incident pushed him to file a precursor to a lawsuit this week.

The posts were in the news after this week’s release of the Plain View Project, a database of public Facebook activity by current and former police personnel in eight cities, including Phoenix.

The project’s website says the posts and comments selected were related to “race, religion, ethnicity and the acceptability of violent policing” and “could undermine public trust and confidence in police.”

Cobin said he’d been preparing the lawsuit for a while but was motivated to move ahead by the contents of the database.

He said he found “three current officers along with many former officers who had made malicious, mocking posts about a citizen they’re supposed to be protecting and serving.”

The Chandler resident, who lived in Scottsdale at the time of the Trump rally, said he was “nauseous” to learn he was a subject of some posts.

“After I saw that, and seeing how officers who are supposed to protect and serve are mocking a private citizen on their public social media accounts, that really just galvanized me to file it,” he said.

Growth of Mountain Fire near Cave Creek halted, containment at 50%

A fire near Cave Creek that has burned since Friday and forced a mandatory evacuation for campers at Bartlett Lake is now 50% contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The Mountain Fire grew on Saturday from 5,000 acres to 7,200 acres with 0% containment, but a Sunday morning update said the fire had remained about the same size and was 20% contained.

The most recent update comes less than four hours after the first Sunday update.

The fire, which sits on the Tonto National Forest about eight miles east of Cave Creek, is burning east and northeast toward Bartlett Lake.

Bartlett Dam Road remains closed at the intersection of Cave Creek Road. It is expected to be closed throughout the weekend.

Campgrounds and all-day use areas near Horseshoe and Bartlett lakes have also been closed.

The fire, which was first reported around noon on Friday, was human caused and under investigation, authorities said.

Trump says tariffs on Mexico suspended indefinitely

President Donald Trump announced late Friday that he had suspended plans to impose tariffs on Mexico, tweeting that the country “has agreed to take strong measures” to stem the flow of Central American migrants into the United States.

But the deal the two neighbors agreed to falls short of some of the dramatic overhauls the U.S. had pushed for.

A “U.S.-Mexico Joint Declaration” released by the State Department said the U.S. “will immediately expand the implementation” of a program that returns asylum-seekers who cross the southern border to Mexico while their claims are adjudicated.

Mexico will “offer jobs, healthcare and education” to those people, the agreement stated.

Mexico has also agreed, it said, to take “unprecedented steps to increase enforcement to curb irregular migration,” including the deployment of the Mexican National Guard throughout the country, especially on its southern border with Guatemala.

The move puts to an end — for now — a threat that had sparked dire warnings from members of Trump’s own party, who warned the tariffs would damage the economy, drive up prices for consumers and imperil an updated North American trade pact.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey rejects hike in money for lawmaker expenses

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has vetoed legislation that would have tripled the amount state lawmakers receive for each day they work.

Ducey said Friday that such a change should only kick in after the next election.

He says there’s a “strong case to be made” to increase payments to rural lawmakers who must stay in Phoenix during the legislative session, and he’s open to working with lawmakers on the issue next year.

Lawmakers in both parties backed the proposal. They noted that changes to federal tax law eliminated many expense write-offs.

Lawmakers earn $24,000 a year, plus a daily stipend of $60 for rural lawmakers and $35 for Maricopa County residents.

The measure would raise the amount for expenses to $185 a day and half that for Phoenix-area residents.

Woodbury Fire near Superior grow to 500 acres, 0% contained

Another wildfire broke out in the Superstition Mountains approximately five miles northwest of Superior around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Three engines and 20 firefighters were the first to respond to what is being called the “Woodbury Fire,” Tonto National Forest officials said.

Officials also said that the fire is not threatening any structures or communities at this time.

The fire was active through the night and has been deemed to be human-caused.

At this time, the Woodbury Fire is 0% contained and has grown to more than 500 acres.

25-year-old woman drowns after tube flips over in Verde River

A 25-year-old woman has died after drowning in the Verde River on Saturday afternoon.

The woman’s tube flipped while floating down the river near the Needle Rock recreation area around 3:55 p.m., according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies say that the woman was accompanied by three others at the time of the incident.

The body was found at approximately 4:40 p.m. by CSO Aviation Deputies, officials say.

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Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from June 7-9