Thirteen people, including four juveniles, were arrested at the state Capitol complex in Tucson on May 12 after approximately 60 people gathered to protest a recently signed bill that prohibits teaching racially divisive classes in public schools in Arizona.
Capitol Police Interim Chief Andrew Staubitz said people began gathering inside a public building at the Tucson Capitol complex, which has no security checkpoints, shortly after Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne finished a press conference announcing the signing of the bill he strongly supports, H2281, by Gov. Jan Brewer on May 11.
Staubitz said the group of students, educators and others, which he described as “fairly loud and disruptive,” was informed that the building is a place of business, and that it closes at 5 p.m.
“They basically refused to leave at the time the building closed,” said Staubitz. “I think their intention was to protest through getting arrested.”
Each person arrested was cited and released for trespassing, a misdemeanor, after refusing to vacate the building after closing time.
Horne’s press conference was originally scheduled to be held at Tucson Unified School District Offices, but was moved to the Capitol complex after organizers got wind of the planned protest, said Staubitz.
Six of the eight Capitol Police officers stationed in Tucson were on hand for the event, as were eight to 10 Department of Public Safety officers and Tucson Police.
It was the first protest regarding this specific bill, said Staubitz.