The Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Arizona has reportedly charged protesters with police brutality for street gang crimes.
More than a dozen defendants who, according to ABC 15, are facing additional charges related to an October 17 protest and others earlier this year.
Phoenix Police were accused of cracking down on certain demonstrators and activists in the community throughout the year. Protests against law enforcement have increased over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, among others.
"It is not a criminal gang activity to protest the police force that we are paying millions and billions of dollars to exist," said Viri Hernandez, a director of Poder in Action, according to ABC 15. "These allegations are mixed up. You are wrong . "
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Once the charges are filed publicly, the defendants are ready to give their response.
The street gang charges are reportedly based on the group's use of the phrase "All cops are bastards". They also dress in black and carry umbrellas.
According to the police, the group used the umbrellas to attack officers. Hernandez calls these allegations ridiculous.
“These allegations are mixed up. You're wrong, ”she said.
"Attorney Allister Adele is doubling his political persecution," said Bruce Franks Jr., former Missouri State representative and current Maricopa County resident. "We received trumped-up charges, were charged with crimes, even though the police department can make recordings that contradict their own reports. Now we're seeing the most eccentric show trying to arrest protesters and activists with street gang charges."
He added: "This is not going to slow us down or silence us! Our rights for the 1st and 4th amendments are being stripped of by a person representing a party that says they want to protect the constitution. I think they are was not written for me! "
The protesters will be charged under a section of the Arizona Revised Statute 13-2321, which reads: “A person agrees to assist a street criminal gang by committing a crime, whether completed or preparatory, for, directed, or association with every criminal street gang. "