Arizona reacts to shooting of Dallas police officers, citizen protests over the deaths of two black men

We’ll update Arizona’s reaction to the shooting of Dallas police officers and the protests over the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

UPDATE: Jarrett Maupin, a Phoenix activist who is organizing tonight’s protest, said marchers will begin at Phoenix city hall, wind past Phoenix police headquarters and through the Roosevelt neighborhood before returning to city hall. Speakers will talk at each “destination” as “record numbers” of protesters show up, he added.

Maupin, at an impromptu news conference near downtown Phoenix, called the rally an “anti-police brutality, pro-police” march that will be peaceful.

“No one has any intentions of violence,” Maupin said. “This is more about unity than fear.”

He acknowledged concerns expressed by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Councilman Sal Diciccio and others, who suggested the rally be postponed. But he said the timing was right for the rally. He named black men who had died in police-involved shootings and the five Dallas police officers who were killed Thursday night.

Maupin said he had rejected police officials’ offer to meet with he and supporters at a local restaurant as a poor replacement for tonight’s protest.

Arizona congressmen and law enforcement officials offered support to the Dallas police after a sniper fired at a protest in Dallas, shooting 12 police officers and two civilians Thursday night. Five officers died.

“May we always remember sacrifices law enforcement, 1st responders make to keep us safe,” Republican Sen. John McCain tweeted. His colleague, Republican Sen. Trent Franks, offered prayers.

At least one sniper fired Thursday night on a peaceful, multi-racial and multi-generational march in downtown Dallas over the officer-involved deaths of two black men in two days – one in Louisiana and one in Minnesota. Dallas police said a man believed to be the shooter said he was angry over Black Lives Matter and had targeted white officers. The sniper was killed after a police standoff and Dallas police are investigating whether others were involved.

The Dallas Morning News identified three of the slain officers as Misty McBride and Patrick Zamarippa of the Dallas police and Brent Thompson of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system.

An 8 p.m. Friday protest against police brutality at Phoenix City Hall that was organized before the shootings will continue as planned, according to local activist Jarrett Maupin.

Maupin called for the protest in light of the police-involved shootings of two black men in two days. Philando Castile, was shot four times by an officer after he was stopped for a broken tail light in Minnesota, with the aftermath of his death livestreamed by his girlfriend. Alton Sterling died a day earlier in an altercation with two police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Their deaths are in a string of deaths of black men across the country, spawning the Black Lives Matter movement protesting racial violence at the hands of police.

Arizonans on Twitter discussed the city hall protest, with some asking where it was. Mayor Greg Stanton and Councilman Sal DiCiccio asked for the protest to be postponed for safety reasons.

“The anxiety levels are just so high right now, on everyone’s part,” said Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio. “Every day that goes by is better than today. Time has a way of softening things.”

A Phoenix police spokesman said officials will not discuss security measures for the protest.

“We are preparing for any demonstrations or activities that may require a significant police presence and encouraging our officers to remain vigilant in their duties,” Sgt. Jonathan Howard said in an email. “

On Friday, hours before the Dallas sniper shootings, Arizonans attended a protest at First Institutional Baptist Church.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, among other Valley law-enforcement agencies, sent its condolences to Dallas law-enforcement colleagues.

Tempe police officers were given the option to patrol in pairs Friday, azcentral reported, adding police did not say if the option would be permanent.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety, in a statement, said it is “closely monitoring” the events in Dallas but has determined so far its procedures should remain the same.

“When any event affects the community and law enforcement such as this, we look closely to determine if a change in patrols or procedures are needed to ensure the safety of our troopers and the public,” the statement says. “ At this time, we have not deemed it necessary to change or modify our processes or procedures. As information and facts are gleaned from this crime, we will evaluate it and ensure our policies and procedures protect our troopers and the public as much as possible.

“We want to express our deep care, love and concern for the families of those officers killed and injured in Dallas. We extend our support to the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas community,” the DPS statement says.