Insult to injury: Police arrest man who was struck in groin at Phoenix demo
Joshua Stuart Cobin, 29, was booked into jail Thursday night on three felony counts of aggravated assault on police and one misdemeanor count for unlawful assembly.
Demonstrators clashed with police outside the Phoenix Convention Center following President Donald Trump’s rally on Tuesday evening. Cobin was among the demonstrators and was caught by TV cameras kicking a tear gas canister toward officers in riot gear.
Moments later, the internet tensed in a collective wince when Cobin was struck in the crotch by a pepper ball.
Cobin later told local media that he didn’t “equate kicking or putting back tear gas canisters as attacking police. I never attacked a police officer”.
"That was not an unlawful assembly and that I had every right to be there. And that tear gas was in the way of myself and every other peacefully assembled protesters being there," he said to KPHO-TV.
Phoenix police spokesman, Sergeant Jonathon Howard, said Cobin “posted images and admission to his crime on social and local media outlets,” according news reports citing the email announcing the arrest on Thursday.
Police made four other arrests at the rally, three pertaining to the protests and one on an unrelated warrant. Howard said the violence was initiated by the demonstrators who threw rocks, bottles and other projectiles at police.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona has called for an investigation into whether Phoenix police officers failed to protect the first amendment rights of protesters.
The ACLU cited law enforcement’s “decision to swiftly and brutally end hours of civil protest” as a threat against freedoms of speech and assembly in Phoenix for “years to come.”
Some 19,000 supporters came to hear Trump, who lashed out at the media and reaffirmed his electoral promises, including a wall along the southern border.