President Donald Trump accomplished two goals with his speech at a Phoenix rally Tuesday night. He explained his take on the last ten days of controversy, and he exposed the ANTIFA protesters as violent anarchists intent on destruction.
The riots that broke out after the President’s speech in downtown Phoenix did little to win any sympathy for the anti-Trump cause. The rally itself was peaceful, as President Trump delivered a defiant speech that took aim at the media’s handling of the Charlottesville crisis. Even the protesters outside were calm, at least until the rally ended and Trump supporters left the Phoenix Convention Center.
A small group of what appeared to be ANTIFA-inspired protesters began attacking police, throwing rocks, bottles, and what was believed to be gas grenades. Phoenix police responded with tear gas and pepper balls in order to disperse the crowd. A Trump protester was the recipient of one of those pepper balls – in the worst way possible.
In the end, four people were arrested and two officers were treated for heat exhaustion. Of the four arrested, two face charges of aggravated assault, one faces criminal damage charges and the other was arrested on an unrelated warrant.
The two officers are expected to be OK but were still in the hospital as of late Tuesday night.
Police began deploying pepper balls and tear gas into the crowd, reportedly because people were throwing rocks and bottles at police.
“They had their own gas and they threw it at police. They didn’t throw our own gas,” Police Chief Jeri Williams said. She said that’s what an employee told her what happened. Williams said it happened near the Herberger Theatre along Monroe Street.
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton highlighted that the rally and the protesters were mostly peaceful except for a few people. “A very small number of people decided to commit acts of assault on our police officers, including the gas that was mentioned and rocks and that was very unfortunate,” Stanton said.
While police said protesters threw gas at them, some protesters told 3TV/CBS 5 that the officers were unprovoked. Just after more 9 p.m., and then again around 9:15, more “flash bangs” went too, and more tear gas was sprayed.
An organizer of one of the largest protests said his group did not start the violence. “It was peaceful,” Carlos Garcia of Puente Arizona told our Mike Watkiss. “We started getting shot at by rubber bullets.”
When asked if the use of force was justified, Williams said, “Absolutely.”
A local news station caught a Trump protester on video, kicking a smoke bomb towards police. He recieved what appeared to be a pepper ball to his nuts for his efforts.
Here is the video. Enjoy.
There is no word on whether the Trump protester was arrested or received medical attention.
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