Monday, October 11, 2010

Radio host leads Phoenix police protests

Protestors planned to gather Monday outside Phoenix Police headquarters for the fifth straight day to continue to draw attention to last week's officer-involved shooting of an unarmed man.

The protest set to begin this afternoon at 620 West Washington Street will include a re-enactment of the incident, with community activists portraying two Phoenix police officers and a 29-year-old domestic violence suspect fatally shot inside his mother's trailer home on Oct. 5.

Phoenix police Officer Richard Chrisman shot and killed suspect Danny Frank Rodriquez during a scuffle in the trailer home near Central Avenue and Baseline Road.

A fellow officer told investigators Chrisman held a gun to Rodriquez's head and that the suspect never posed a serious threat of violence to the officers, according to court records.

Organizer Carlos Galindo, (left) a Spanish-language talk show host, said protests would continue until Chrisman is charged with murder.

Chrisman was arrested last week and charged with aggravated assault, though Maricopa County prosecutors could possibly re-arrest the officer on murder charges, officials said.

On Monday, protestors also planned to line the sidewalk near police headquarters with memorial lanterns to mark Rodriquez's death. Galindo said one activist would use a toy gun and mask made out of a jail booking photo of Chrisman to portray the officer. Galindo added that he has worked with Phoenix police to make them aware of the protest schedule.

Protests last week drew as many as 60-80 people, many who heard Galindo's calls to the public.

Galindo, who hosts a Hispanic Christian radio-show, helped the family of murder victim Juan Varela protest at the state Capitol in May. Police said Varela was killed by a White neighbor who shouted racial slurs during the shooting.

The case was not initally labelled as a hate-crime, though prosecutors later added it as an aggravating factor, which could lead to enhanced sentencing if shooting suspect Gary Kelley is convicted.

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