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One arrested as crowd in House gallery protests voting snafus

Department of Public Safety Capt. Damon Cecil addresses the media after one man was arrested at the Arizona House of Representatives as protestors stand behind him and dispute his account of events. (Photo by Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times)

Department of Public Safety Capt. Damon Cecil addresses the media after one man was arrested at the Arizona House of Representatives as protestors stand behind him and dispute his account of events. (Photo by Rachel Leingang, Arizona Capitol Times)

One man is behind bars after activists halted today’s House floor session with chanting, jeering and a tussle with police.

Activists, stoked by rowdy proceedings in the House Elections Committee earlier in the day, filled the gallery.

They had arrived in the morning to attend the committee hearing where election officials explained what went wrong with the March 22 election in which many voters waited in line for hours. The hearing was cut short so lawmakers could attend the floor session.

The trouble started as lawmakers began reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Adriana Espinoza, an activist sitting directly behind the main agitator, said a small group in unison added their own ending to the pledge by saying “in liberty and justice for some.”

She said that prompted security to start pointing out disruptive people.

Elizabeth Brown, a state Senate candidate who attended the hearing earlier, said one man was the most disruptive, chanting “re-vote,” but he left without incident when asked.

Espinoza and Brown said a security official pointed out a man in a Guy Fawkes mask and wearing dreadlocks as an agitator, but they said he sat quietly as the main agitator led chants.

Officers run toward the House of Representatives on March 28, 2016, after chaos in the House gallery. (Photo by Gary Grado, Arizona Capitol Times)

Officers run toward the House of Representatives on March 28, 2016, after chaos in the House gallery. (Photo by Gary Grado, Arizona Capitol Times)

The man with the mask refused to leave and when police put their hands on him he clutched onto his chair. Those around him started screaming that the police were out of line, and later that the police were choking him.

Eventually DPS officers were able to pry him loose.

Department of Public Safety Captain Damon Cecil said the House’s Sergeant of Arms wanted the man in the mask to leave and asked troopers to remove him.

Cecil said he was yelling different slogans and was warned, but continued to be disruptive.

Cecil also said it’s the Sergeant at Arms who decides who should be removed.

The man will be booked into Maricopa County jail on suspicion of resisting arrest and trespassing, Cecil said.

Cecil disagreed with witnesses who said the man wasn’t disruptive.

“If he was peaceful, why wouldn’t he just leave?” Cecil said.

No one was injured in the chaos.

6 comments

  1. Your poor reporting of the situation that unfolded is beneath your abilities as a ‘journalist’.
    At no time was the man in question “disruptive”, the Disruption began with the gentleman who was shouting “re-Vote” and then left.
    The gentleman arrested was sitting peacefully in his seat, as witnessed and Recorded by witnesses, when he was approached and unlawfully arrested.

    “If he was peaceful, why wouldn’t he just leave.”
    There was no reason, nor probable cause to ask the gentleman to leave in the first place.

  2. This is beyond ridiculous. I’ve worked in security where I’ve had to ask people to remove masks (reason given was to avoid identity being hidden from cameras in case they intended to commit a crime). So I could almost understand if an officer quietly asked him to remove his mask, but instead they made a scene and acted abhorrently. And now he’s being charged with a FELONY because a safety pin in his clothing came loose and pricked an officer. The reaction of the officers was extremely disproportionate to the situation and made it far worse. This is not justice. https://www.facebook.com/revotedropchargesjsm/?fref=nf

  3. “If he was peaceful, why wouldn’t he just leave?”
    By that same logic, Captain Cecil should step down.

  4. If anyone wants a video of the episode reported on here it is. Despite this propaganda site’s attempt at controlling the narrative, this was wrong. As an American, I am ashamed of such treatment of citizens by those sworn to serve and protect.

    https://www.facebook.com/jessicahcarlson/videos/10104729624721042/

  5. Wow! Those “police” were obese. With the IQ of a pig, I would guess. No wonder people hate police. Police love to escalate everything to justify their violence. Avoid Arizona at all costs as the police are fat, lazy and corrupt to the core. And, no, I won’t call police if I need any help. That would be the last thing to do as when the police show up they….ESCALATE to violence. Why? Low standards clearly.

  6. “If he was peaceful, why wouldn’t he just leave?”

    It is amazing how someone can ask a rhetorical question that answers itself. It is because he *WAS* being peaceful that he would not leave.

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