Arizona Republicans and right wing media are good at being scared drama queens.
After Arizona Department of Public Safety Officers, without warning, fired tear gas into a crowd of mostly peaceful protestors less than a minute after one over zealous, criminally moronic individual attempted to kick open the door to the State Senate (see picture below,) Republican members of the Grand Canyon State Upper Chamber whined that what these people did was comparable to the domestic terrorist-insurrectionists that stormed the Nation’s Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Senate President Karen Fann, of Cyber Ninja infamy, posted:
So proud of our senate staff and Police officers keeping us safe from the insurrection at the Az Capitol last night pic.twitter.com/4rqzFLXQ3u
— Karen Fann (@FannKfann) June 25, 2022
Arizona State Senator and resident nut job Wendy Rogers posted this pack of lies of people being held hostage until early Saturday morning.
These assertions are so absurd that they would be funny if it was not coming from individuals misguided people in their districts put faith in.
For starters, unlike January 6, 2021, no one entered the Senate building.
Second, unlike January 6, 2021, Arizona DPS confirms that the great majority of the protestors were peaceful. One can not say that about the great majority of the participants of the attempted coup at the Nation’s Capitol last year. Need proof. Here are some pictures of the protestors about an hour before the tear gas was released.
Do these people look like these individuals from January 6, 2021?
Which ones are holding the weapons?
Which ones are bringing the gallows to hang people like Mike Pence?
Which ones are actually using objects to break into the legislative building?
Let’s get real.
Third, unlike January 6, 2021, no one died and no arrests have been made although to be fair, the person that kicked the Senate door and the people (whether protestors or plants) that vandalized the statues (see some of the pictures from Arizona DPS below) should be held accountable. Like President Joe Biden said, there is no excuse for resorting to violent means when protesting.
Fourth, no damage was done to the Arizona State Senate building. Want proof. Please click on the video link provided by Legislative District 30 State Senator and Democratic Party Chair Raquel Teran after the Senate adjourned that evening that clearly showed no visible damage to the structure.
Finally, the current President of the United States told the people not to commit violence while protesting the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade. Can anyone really say that about his predecessor on January 6, 2021?
Arizona DPS Shot Off Tear Gas Into the Crowd Without Warning, Hurting Innocent Protestors and Children in the Process.
In preparing this article, I spoke or wrote with half a dozen people and they all said the same thing.
Arizona DPS shot off tear gas into the crowd without warning.
Former Maricopa Democratic Party Chair Steve Slugocki said that the tear gas was fired less than a minute after the one individual tried to kick open the door to the State Senate Building.
Julie Golding, an activist, who was at the gathering handing out literature on pro choice candidates, said that she first noticed people running from the State Capitol Square after crossing from Wesley Bolin Park. The people that remained were chanting slogans like “Our Body, Our Choice,” “We won’t go back,” and “F— Doug Ducey.”
Looking at the Senate building, she noticed the DPS officers inside putting on gas masks. Then “the next thing I know I hear a boom, They had fired tear gas from the Senate building. Then I saw the people (DPS) from the old capitol building (museum) firing tear gas and people started running.”
There were no warnings from DPS before the booming sound of the tear gas getting fired.
Ms. Golding and others were forced to run to 15th Avenue and Washington before she could make her way back to the Capitol Parking Lot on 19th Avenue to get to her vehicle.
Saying she saw no protestors armed with weapons like bricks or anyone breaking windows, Ms. Golding commented:
“This was a peaceful protest with no that was armed. We went there wanting to make a statement of how angry and sad and depressed and shocked that our rights can be atken away just like that in an instant. We wanted to be heard. We were there to make our voices heard not with the intent of malice. We were showing we were still here and we would not go away. We will continue to be peaceful protestors. Children of all ages were at the event. No one went to this protest and march with the intent of having it turn violent. The DPS could have done a multitude of things. There were speakers in that area and the DPS could have given us warnings. Absolutely no warnings whatsoever like if you do so such and such, this is how we react like they have done before. For them to have no warning whatsoever and fire multiple cans of tear gas is not right.
You can have the Patriot Movement pound on the Maricopa County Recorders Warehouse the day after the election and not one thing happened to them; no police came out then. Always a double standard when it is applied to us.”
Another eyewitness to the event, Celina Washburn, who was there gathering signatures on petitions for Arizonans for Reproductive Freedom, Arizonans for Fair Elections, and the Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act on the lawn by the House building, heard the same chants as Ms. Golding and did not notice anything violent among the great majority of the protestors. She said she did not see anyone who was armed and everything was peaceful.
At about 8:30 p.m. “I was talking with people when all of a sudden, we heard a big bang. We thought it was fire works. Then, we saw people, running and screaming form the capitol.”
It did not take long for Ms. Washburn to feel the effects of the tear gas that made its way to the House lawn. She said, “my skin, face, eyes, and lungs were burning. As of today (June 27,2022,) my lungs are still hurting.”
Like Golding, Slugocki, and the others I spoke with, Washburn said, “there was no warning whatsoever. If there had been a warning, we would have packed up right away. This is the first time this has ever happened to me…We know they had active microphones because after the tear gas that was when they spoke on loudspeakers telling people to disperse.”
She also recounted that one mother (Natascha Chavez) and her daughter (the great granddaughter of Cesar Chavez, the Civil Rights activist) “were in shock and had to be yelled at to get out of the way. The child’s face and eyes were burning. We poured water and milk of magnesia on her body and eyes.”
Blog for Arizona reached out to Arizona DPS and asked if they had any audio or video proof that they, as they claimed on Friday night, issued warnings prior to the firing of the tear gas at the protestors.
We received a response from Bart Graves, a Media relations specialist at Arizona DPS that said:
Media Relations Specialist”
It may be okay to presume that if such an audio or video recording existed, Arizona DPS would have furnished it by now to counter the accusations that no warning was given prior to shooting off the tear gas as shown on this video provided by right wing media.
— AZ Right Wing Watch (@az_rww) June 25, 2022
Again Arizona Republicans. Do these look like the insurrectionists like the violent ones on January 6, 2021?
Are these individuals that should have had tear gas fired upon them without a warning?
Give me a break.