City officials in Phoenix, Ariz., announced Tuesday exactly how much money two Black Lives Matter protests in July cost their tax-paying citizens. Combined, the two protests sucked up nearly $250,000 in city funds.
“This shows a complete disrespect for the taxpayer and our great police department,” said councilman Sal DiCiccio in statement. “This disrespect can be easily added up. Add up the loss of taxpayer monies, the cost to local small business owners, [and] the waste of limited police resources.”
“To be clear, I am a fierce proponent of free speech and people's right to protest, but the way the protesters exercised their right squandered critical resources away from the serial killer investigation and our community,” added DiCiccio.
The two protests, held on July 9 and July 15, drew a total of roughly 1,100 protesters. The first rally, which was attended by about 1,000 activists, quickly got out of hand as protesters tried to enter a major interstate highway before being dispersed with tear gas and pepper spray. Six people were injured and three were arrested.
Despite their varying size, both protests used up more than 1,500 of the police department's man hours to a tune of about $124,000 per event.
The Phoenix police have also confirmed that that so many of their resources were spent focusing on the protests, they had to rely on a neighboring city to cover emergency calls to law enforcement.
Both protests called out alleged racial police violence, and lobbied for a 12-point plan that the protesters said would help improve their local police force, including a call to implement body cameras on all cops within a year and mandatory drug testing for all officers who were involved in a fatal shooting or suspected brutality.