I recieved the following not from Christopher Hall, founder of C.A.R.E - Central Arizona Rainbow Equality. Christopher organized Casa Grande, Arizona's first LGBT event just a few weeks ago. He also organized the protest today which was designed to bring attention to the fact that LGBT people pay an average of $1,000 on their taxes by not being allowed to marry. Protests like this were held all over the country today and organized by Marriage Equality USA, Join the Impact, and the Human Rights Campaign.
I received the following email from Christopher regarding the protest
Today the Casa Grande Police Department broke up our demonstration.
Officer B. Walsh and his accomplice, who would not provide her name, informed us that our flag was not to be flown anywhere within the city of Casa Grande. Dana who was the owner of the flag, was threated to be arrested if it were flown again.
We were told that it was obstructing the view of the road for some individuals. We were more than willing to work with them. We had asked where we could stand and they said we could not stand anywhere.
Funny thing is, I had talked to the city and they said as long as we were on the sidewalk or 7 feet from it, there should not be a problem. Apparently there was. When I first confronted the police about the issue, they told me to get in touch with the city. Even though I did, they still enforced their "policy" and were hesitant to work with us in any way.
Another form of injustice happened when they took down the gay people's information, but none of the straight people had to provide the police with their ssn, date of birth, photo id, etc. The gay population on the other hand had to.
With future events such as the right to save rally, we need your help to make sure this does not happen again. Please help us in figuring out how to deal with this situation. If you have any ideas, please feel free to let me know asap.
I already talked to the on duty supervisor tonight, and I took a witness with me. I also plan to talk to the chief and commander for the police department sometime tomorrow. Please help me. This is not right and something needs to be done.
Since this email the ACLU and Lambda Legal have been told about the incedent and asked to give assistance. Also, the Attorney General's office has been made aware of the actions to shut the protest down.
I will be updating this story when more information comes in. In the meantime if you would like to tell the police department how you feel you can contact Commander Scott Sjervern - Casa Grande P.D. at (520) 421-8700.
Also you can contact Bob Jackson - Mayor of Casa Grande, AZ at (520) 421-8600.
The following are statements from the Casa Grande Police Department obtained from azcentral.com
A statement issued Thursday afternoon by Casa Grande police Chief Robert Huddleston said the department is working to determine whether Walsh acted inappropriately and, if so, will take steps to correct issues.
Chief Huddleston said, "The Casa Grande Police Department will continue to work with this and any other citizen group to respect their right to assemble and demonstrate in a safe manner. We apologize for any inconvenience or misunderstanding, and look forward to the completion of the investigation."
To read the full article on azcentral.com go here.