DEC
2018
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Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
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Frank Bernheisel
Posted 08.26.17
Just Outside Washington

FRANK BERNHEISEL

Phoenix police oppression

[EDITOR'S NOTE: LCC columnist Frank Bernheisel forwarded this report from one of his granddaughters. It's worth a read, folks.My granddaughter, Caroline, lives in Mesa, AZ and just graduated from Arizona State University. She took part in the demonstration protesting President Trump's rally in Phoenix this week, and sent me the following description of her experience.]

Hi Grandad!

I attended the protest last night and marched peacefully with Puente and other groups. We followed all local laws and remained peaceful and positive, but were unfortunately assaulted by the Phoenix PD officers that were on duty last night. It was a scary display of excessive force, and we had our rights violated multiple times over.

I submitted my complaint to ACLU Arizona today as they are working on gathering evidence and testimonies from protesters and victims in the crowd before pursuing legal action.

I know that the news outlets are reporting that we were violent and unruly, but that was so far from the truth. Once we were fired at and the chaos erupted, the situation escalated and later on a small handful of folks got a little wild.

I was on the frontline at 3rd street and Monroe across from the convention center where Trump held his rally, and was standing close to the first group that was gassed. I stood with children, young adults, elderly, lawyers, Catholic priests and others as we chanted peaceful protest" and "hands up don't shoot", just before our group was shot at with teargas, pepper spray, pepper balls, rubber bullets, and flash/concussion grenades.

The cops stood on the their side of the street in full riot gear and gas masks with two barricades and a street between us, before they descended on the crowd. We were pushed, bullied, and assaulted without provocation or warning. No rocks thrown, no gas from our side (until some of our group tried to kick and throw it back out into the street away from us, as we were backed up against the Catholic Basilica and other buildings) and no threats to officers, just two empty plastic water bottles thrown into the street.

I've been to a lot of marches and protests in this area and I have never seen a police response like this.

A lot of folks believe that PHXPD had planned on executing these actions from the beginning. I'm still a little shell shocked from the chaos last night, it was exhausting to say the least. Teargas is no joke (as the Geneva Convention classifies it as a chemical weapon). I had thought ahead and brought face masks, extra water, and milk, as it's always best to be prepared in those situations. I'm glad that I did. I'm hoping that the ACLU is able to hold Phoenix PD accountable for their actions.

We all worked together to spread the word through the crowd as quickly as possible and get everyone moved, rinsed off, faces covered, and safe. I can't speak for others, but even after this, I'm not intimidated by our law enforcement and will be attending a protest next week against the excessive force that was used last night. I will definitely be coming armed with my camera, milk, and extra face masks in case we're met with what we saw last night.

It's very disappointing how the events of last night were so misrepresented by the media and the Phoenix chief of police. In fact, it was the anarchists that led many folks to safety.

I'm now even more motivated and vigilant in the pursuit of protecting our freedoms. It is a shame that our local law enforcement behaved in the way that they did last night. It was unnecessary and very disappointing.

Caroline

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