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Racist slurs interrupt online memorial for Phoenix civil rights icon

Calvin Goode. (City of Phoenix Photo)

PHOENIX – A virtual memorial for Phoenix civil rights icon Calvin Goode was interrupted Tuesday when the online presentation was hijacked by a man repeatedly spewing racist slurs while Mayor Kate Gallego was speaking.

The vile comments started around 35 minutes into the livestreamed service for Goode, a former city councilman who died Dec. 23 at age 93.

The Tanner Chapel AME Church hosted the stream on its Facebook page, with the participants patching in through Zoom. It is believed the racist intruder broke into the Zoom feed.

Gallego was praising Goode’s legacy when the interloper cut her off with profanities and slurs. The video ended abruptly, and the church soon resumed the memorial in a new stream.

Gallego said on Twitter that the Phoenix Police Department and FBI were investigating the “disgusting” attack.

The police department, which is leading the investigation, asked anybody with information about the incident to call Silent Witness at 480-948-6377 or 480-837-8446 for Spanish.

Goode was the second Black council member for the city of Phoenix and the longest-tenured elected official in its history. He served on the council from 1972 until 1994, including time as vice mayor in 1974 and 1984.

He spent his time fighting to improve the quality of life in Phoenix for low-income Black residents long after his last days on the council. He continued advocating for equal opportunity, affordable housing and education through multiple organizations, including the Eastlake Neighborhood Association and the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center.

Next week, the city will celebrate the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday with a virtual award ceremony honoring the newest honoree of the Calvin C. Goode Lifetime Achievement Award.

A public viewing for Goode was held Saturday in front of the downtown municipal building that was named after him.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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