2 ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests cost Phoenix taxpayers nearly $250k – police

FILE PHOTO: A protester shouts during a demonstration against fatal shootings by the police of two black men across the country, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. July 8, 2016 © Ricardo Arduengo
Two Black Live Matter-inspired protests against police brutality in July cost taxpayers in Phoenix, Arizona, nearly $250,000, local police said. This does not include losses sustained by local businesses affected by mass protests.

The rallies that took place on July 8 and 15 cost at least $123,000 each, including on-duty and overtime hours for police officer coverage of the protests.

“This extra $247,996 does not include the tens of thousands of dollars lost by local businesses that lost customers or had to close early due to the threats made by protestors,” the Phoenix city council said in a statement.

Ironically, the demonstration during which fewer violent incidents occurred resulted in greater consumption of tax revenue. The July 8 protest that was marked by activists throwing rocks and police using tear gas cost taxpayers $123,341, while the department spent $124,655 during the more peaceful July 15 one.

The first march accounted for 562 on-duty hours and 1,041.75 overtime hours on top of that. For comparison, the city paid 933.50 on-duty and 627.75 overtime hours for the July 15 protest, KTAR news reported

Councilman Sal DiCiccio called the protests a “complete disrespect for the taxpayer and our great police department,” adding that protesters “squandered critical resources away from the serial killer investigation and our community.”

Phoenix police had to call in support from the Glendale police SWAT team to cover a call, because Phoenix officers were busy working one of the protests.

The second protest took place shortly after six police officers were killed by a sniper in Dallas, Texas, prompting Councilman DiCiccio, who spoke of himself as a “fierce proponent of free speech,” to scold the activists for refusing to postpone their rally.

“Add up the loss of taxpayer monies, the cost to local small business owners, the waste of limited police resources, and the fact that the protestors refused to change the date of their protest as it occurred the day after we lost those brave police heroes in Dallas,” he said.

However, an organizer with Black Lives Matter distanced the group from the protest inspired by the movement. Reverend Reginald Walton told KNXV that they were not behind rallies in question.

So far this year, taxpayers have paid more than $2 million to cover police services, according to KPNX.

“The Phoenix City Council, this year alone, has cost taxpayers more than $2 million in settlement monies and legal fees associated with issues of police brutality, misconduct, and wrongful death,” Rev. Jarrett Maupin, another Black Lives Matter activist, told the local station.

Protests in Phoenix came in response to two police shootings that claimed lives of two black men and followed the deadly ambush on Dallas officers. On July 8, at least three people were arrested after that protest turned violent.