There was a wild-west shootout Tuesday in Arizona, but it wasn’t on a movie set. Anti-Trump protests became heated with the Phoenix police as officers confronted angry crowds outside of the president’s rally. In just one of the incidents, a protester wearing a gas mask kicked a canister of tear gas back at the police. Just seconds later you could see a cloud of dust coming from his groin area and the man doubled over in agony.
“A guy just got shot with a rubber bullet,” remarked one reporter, as the other lapsed into a pained silence. ”So… er… yeah, the officers are not, are not messing around at all,” the reporter stuttered as the pained protester was dragged away by a friend.
That was just one of the incidents with the post-rally crowd. The police officers used non-lethal methods to ultimately disperse the crowds who were throwing rocks and bottles at them. The unrest followed a campaign style rally designed to enthuse Trump’s base. The president’s fans far outnumbered those there who were against him. Many of Trump’s supporters arrived up to 10 hours before the event started. The crowds for and against Trump came together in the 107-degree heat, and it was after the rally that the violence began to break out. As angry protesters began throwing bottles and rocks at the police, they retaliated with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and pepper balls.
By 11:20pm, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams reported that three people had been arrested on charges related to the protests and two officers were treated for heat exhaustion. The heat is blamed for keeping many protesters at home. Approximately 7,400 people had RSVP’d on Facebook saying that they planned to protest Trump’s rally, but only about 500 showed up. One of the protesters paraded a sign that read: “Looks like we’ve taken this ‘Anyone can grow up to be president’ thing just a bit too far.” Another carried a message: ‘It’s only ‘Fake News’ if he doesn’t like it. Support freedom of the press!” And a small group of protesters inflated a 20-foot-tall effigy of Trump dressed as a KKK member.
The local media grilled the Police Chief and the Mayor of Phoenix for their use of force.
USA Today does have the video you can watch here the moment Police were initially attacked with tear gas.
An hour before the president spoke, there were an estimated 8,000 people inside the convention center. Supporters of the president were seen with signs or T-shirts bearing the following messages: “AntiFa is Satan,” “BLM (Black Lives Matter) are racist thugs,” and “Every real Muslim is a jihadist!”
Before the rally, the White House diffused what could have been the most controversial news at the event. Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Air Force One that there would be no announcement of a presidential pardon for former sheriff Joe Arpaio. He is a Trump endorser who faces a prison term for defying a judge’s order regarding illegal immigration.
“There will be no discussion of that today at any point, and no action will be taken on that front at any point today,” Sanders said.
There is no love loss between President Trump and both of Arizona’s Republican senators. Sen. Jeff Flake faces a primary challenge next year from former state lawmaker Kelli Ward. Trump has praised Ward on Twitter while calling Flake “WEAK on borders and ‘toxic’ in the Senate.” Senator Flake railed against Trump in what some are calling his “anti-Trump manifesto,” “Conscience of a Conservative.” On Tuesday, the Senate Leadership Fund released a vicious ad aimed at Flake’s rival, Kelli Ward. Possibly in response, a major Trump donor who also funds the Breitbart News website, donated $300,000 to a pro-Ward super PAC.
The Republican Governor of Arizona found some middle ground at the event. He greeted Trump at the airport but skipped the rally at the convention center.
However, it could have been worse and we, unfortunately, have seen worse and given the number of people on the scene things went relatively well.
Do you think the Police went overboard? Or made the right call?
Credit: Daily Mail