Hundreds of people gathered outside Phoenix City Hall on Thursday evening and then marched through downtown to the capitol building in solidarity with the Minneapolis protests over George Floyd's death, a black man who died following an altercation with the police.
Protesters were marching with banners reading «White silence costs live» and «Black lives matter,» and were heard chanting «I can't breathe.»
Reports indicate that the protest later escalated into more violent scenes, as police used pepper spray against the demonstrators, who threw back bottles and rocks.
Floyd was a 46-year-old black man who died in Minneapolis on Monday after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly ten minutes as he was recorded on video saying «I can't breathe» and «don't kill me.»
Four officers involved in the incident were fired.
Floyd's case echoes that of Eric Garner, who died by strangulation as the result of a chokehold by a police officer in New York City, in 2014. Garner could also be heard saying «I can't breathe» in the video of the incident.
Garner's case, along with many others, including Michael Brown, who was fatally shot by police in Ferguson in 2014, and Trayvon Martin, fatally shot in 2013 by George Zimmerman, a private citizen who was acquitted on all charges, helped inspire the Black Lives Matter movement, which calls attention to the deaths of unarmed African-American men and women, rarely resulting in criminal convictions.