Chandler police on Saturday released records for the five people arrested during Friday evening protests seeking justice for Anthony Cano, the 17-year-old fatally shot by an officer in January.
About 30 protesters gathered at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, near Arizona Avenue and Chicago Street, demanding the city take action against the officer who fatally shot Cano. The protest happened a day after police released a redacted incident report detailing the Jan. 2 shooting.
The arrest records released Saturday identified the protesters as Ryan Tice, Richard Weed, Phil Martinez, Kai Graham and Darien Barrett.
Attorney Kenneth Countryman, who isrepresenting Weed, disputed the police narrative about what happened Friday night.
“We have reviewed the entire video of the protest and the probable cause statements are false, as has been the case in the majority of the other protest cases,” he said in a statement to The Arizona Republic. “We will be filing motions to dismiss these cases and attaching the videos, which have been instrumental in finding these cases are being filed to prevent the freedom of expression under the First Amendment.”
The Republic reached out to attorneys representing the other protesters but had not received a response as of mid-Saturday afternoon.
Probable cause statement says protest started peacefully, then became ‘defiant’
In probable cause statements included in the records, an arresting officer wrote that the department had extra staffing on Friday evening because they were aware of the planned protest in front of Chandler City Hall.
“The intent of the detail was to protect the right of protesters to assemble and exercise the right to express their opinions peacefully and orderly,” he wrote.
Command center personnel at around 8 p.m. told officers over their radio that protesters had entered Arizona Avenue and were walking in the middle of the northbound lanes, prompting bike patrol officers to attempt to get the protesters back onto the sidewalk, according to the statement.
It went on to say that protesters had started gathering in front of City Hall at around 6 p.m. and that “everything was peaceful and orderly with no confrontations with police.”
“It was not until the protesters made the decision to walk in the road … that required officers to attempt to clear the roadway as this was causing a significant traffic hazard and backup of traffic, posing a significant danger to the protesters themselves as well as the officers who now had to attempt to get the pedestrians out of the road,” the statement said.
It said traffic was completely stopped behind the group of protesters near Boston Street and that prevented officers from reaching the group, prompting police to try to head off the group before they reached Buffalo Street.
Command center personnel gave the order over the radio to stop the group from continuing north and to attempt to have them move east off of Arizona Avenue, the statement said. Officers on bikes rode alongside the protesters and asked them to move back onto the sidewalk.
“The requests by police were met with violent statements and vulgarity toward the officers,” the statement said. “The protesters were cursing and making statements that the road belonged to them.”
The protesters continued marching north and increased “anti-police chants and slurs,” the statement said.
Their “defiance” was “encouraged by a few individuals in the group,” the statement said, before going on to identify Martinez as leading the group with an amplified bullhorn.
“The only objective of police at this point was to get them to continue the protest from the sidewalk so no persons were endangered by being in the street,” it said. “The mere presence of police appeared to fuel the crowd and whip them up as if they wanted a confrontation with police.”
Police created a line composed of both vehicles and officers on foot along Buffalo Street in an attempt to stop the protesters from moving forward in the street, but the statement said the crowd was “now at a fever pitch and moved past officers.”
Command personnel said over the radio that the group would not be allowed to reach the major intersection of Chandler Boulevard and officers gave “repeated commands” to exit the roadway. The police statement alleged Martinez “intensified his chants leading the group” and used his megaphone to yell in the officers’ faces.
Additional police personnel were requested to secure the blockade. The group slowed and moved onto the north and eastbound lanes of Chandler Boulevard, which police said caused an “unreasonable inconvenience and hazard.”
After “multiple warnings and requests” by police, command personnel decided to “order select arrests of the instigators and agitators,” starting with Martinez, the statement said.
It said the atmosphere in the area was “incredibly chaotic” and that the crowd surrounded officers as they attempted to arrest Martinez. Among them was Tice, who the statement said was displaying “active aggression” and pushed past two Gilbert police officers in an attempt to stop Martinez’s arrest.
The Gilbert officers “had to fight off” Tice and took him to the ground, at which point the arresting officer said he “helped to control” Tice. The officer wrote that Tice “refused to pull his hands out from under his body” as a tactic to avoid arrest that posed a “significant threat” to officers.
It took “at least three” officers to handcuff Tice, at which point Tice was “defiant” and “passively resistant” prior to being put in a police vehicle.
The statement said neither Martinez nor Tice were read their Miranda rights because neither were “asked any questions after arrest of an investigative nature.” They were taken to a holding facility pending being seen by a Chandler City Court judge.
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Police recommend various charges against protesters
Police recommended Tice be charged with obstructing a public thoroughfare, failure to comply with police, obstructing officers, hindering apprehension and resisting arrest, according to the records.
Tice last year was charged with two counts of unlawful assembly and one count of hindering prosecution in three separate cases, the records said.
Weed faces recommended charges of blocking a public roadway, failure to obey police and obstructing or interfering with police. The records said Weed was armed with a semi-automatic handgun at the time of his arrest.
Martinez faces recommended charges of obstructing a public thoroughfare, failure to comply with police and obstructing officers. The records said Martinez was similarly charged during protests last summer.
A separate probable cause statement written for Graham’s arrest alleged that Graham was “one of the leaders of the group” who was walking in the street and obstructing traffic.
The statement said Graham ignored the police blockade near Buffalo Street and weaved their way through the officers to continue northbound. Ultimately, Graham was taken into custody on recommended charges of failure to comply with police, obstructing a highway and interfering with police.
A separate probable cause statement written for Barrett said that Barrett similarly ignored the police blockade and repeated requests to get out of the roadway. Barrett faces recommended charges of failure to comply with police, obstructing a highway and interfering with police.
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