It started when Michael Brown was gunned down with his hands up in Ferguson. Soon, Phoenix was adding it's own casualties to the list of those killed by police.
This is a compilation of protest footage and news clips from August of 2014 to January of 2015. But many racially charged beatings and shootings happened much earlier as tensions between Arizona’s bloated law enforcement and protesters have been growing like a cancer.
Millions of dollars have been spent targeting, investigating and harassing those police label as anarchists and this was proven during the 2011 Occupy Phoenix days after the ACLU and independent journalists succeeded in getting police emails and documents released to the public. All the resources spent didn’t yield one felony or crime against another person. Not one legitimate conspiracy against a government most anarchists will freely tell you they are not in favor of in any way was exposed.
What was discovered was undercover police trying to infiltrate and even incite violence during Occupy Phoenix. Ironically, these were the very same people protesters suspected as they did their own investigations far earlier than the info dump after 2011.
While I filmed many of these protests and arrests, I have also interviewed several protesters who were arrested or harassed. I have yet to understand why certain protesters were arrested and others were not. Most charges were either thrown out or reduced to minor offenses like failing to yield to traffic. Often police would attempt to get protesters to offer info or become informants but the lack of trust for law enforcement and lack of any real crimes committed by protesters tend to prove this as a fruitless tactic as of present.
Film and photos were reviewed independently and cautiously after these events. Between independent media and activists tirelessly combing through footage, undercover police and agitators were identified working hand in hand. Phoenix police also used Home Land Security issued facial recognition cameras during many events and would later arrest protesters on minor offenses such as unpaid parking tickets or outstanding warrants that turned out to already have been paid. Some were even arrested or charged as suspects in crimes that happened weeks or months before the protests. A young black women I interviewed explained how she was being charged for an assault that happened at a beauty parlor she was not even near during the time of the alleged incident. The police never admitted the facial recognition camera (shown in this video) was used for this purpose. But having discussed a variety of incidents with several arrestees before and after these protests, testimonies correlate that law enforcement was getting info from somewhere and it was often out of date or completely inaccurate. Hence, after much hardship and harassment, charges were often dropped. Since these incidents didn’t happen during protests, film is absent. But this tactic seems to backfire more often than it was successful. Often protesters returned after being jailed even more committed to fighting against what they perceive as an unneeded and out of control police force with the power to kill at will regardless of the circumstances.
Naturally, cops don’t care too much for anarchists. This has never been clearer than when the anarchists decided to show up at pro-cop events organized by local anti-immigrant extremists and tea party enthusiasts. From Scottsdale to Phoenix, police turned their backs or did little or nothing to stop the assaults on activists as well as myself, who was there to cover these events as an independent videographer.
There are many great news articles that covered these events and great investigative journalism conducted by sites like Down and Drought http://downanddrought.blogspot.com/20.
.. and http://downanddrought.blogspot.com/20.
Also, PINOC has done some great investigative work here: http://photographyisnotacrime.com/201.
Please read these articles for a more complete story. Mainstream media tended to focus on police reports, which usually are designed to slander the victim who is no longer around to defend his or her character. This is at least partially why you see protesters aggressively confront NBC 12’s live news cast from downtown Phoenix.
But back to the video, the music and concept wasn’t mine. This was a joint effort. A few creative anarchists came up with the sound track and some pretty good ideas of what they felt was important footage to show. I filled in the holes.
Footage came from Ezra Niesen: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSmk.
Ray Stern: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo-k.
and myself https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvyV.