TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities say seven people were arrested after a Tempe Black Lives Matter protest turned chaotic.
A demonstration in downtown Tempe Monday night started out peacefully. But then protesters got into an altercation with a small group of counter-protesters, according to police. One member of one group assaulted someone in the opposing group and an arrest was made.
After that, Tempe police say the roughly 150 protesters continued onto Scottsdale Road and illegally blocked traffic in all directions. The scene turned more confrontational once officers ordered protesters to get off the roadway.
Officers began pepper-spraying demonstrators and detaining people after the crowd began throwing projectiles, according to police. Police Chief Sylvia Moir tweeted that more than one protester hurled an object at officers. One officer was hit in the face by some kind of projectile and received stitches.
More arrests were made. Those arrested could face charges including obstructing a public thoroughfare, hindering and interfering with police, disorderly conduct, and assault/aggravated assault
During the three-hour protest, organizers highlighted the police-involved shooting deaths of Dalvin Hollins and Dion Johnson.
Hollins , 19, was killed by Tempe police in 2016 after he was suspected of robbing a drug store.
Johnson was fatally shot May 25, the same day as George Floyd in Minneapolis, after an Arizona state trooper found him parked off the side of a freeway.
The protesters called for the firing of police officers involved in both incidents. Other demands included a stop to dispatching law enforcement to calls involving mental health or substance abuse.