Breaking news (Photo: The Republic)
A protest planned in response to recent violence in Portland resulted in the arrests of three people in Flagstaff on Saturday, according to authorities.
The flyer for the event advised people to arrive at 4 p.m. on South San Francisco Street and Franklin Avenue to protest “in solidarity with BLM” and “in solidarity with Portland.”
The presence of federal officers and allegations of violence toward protesters in Portland have dominated national attention in recent weeks amid the nearly 60 days of demonstrations across the country against police brutality.
Around 75 to 100 people began marching through the southside neighborhood in the middle of the street toward City Hall in downtown at around 5 p.m., according to a statement from Flagstaff police spokesperson Sgt. Charles Hernandez. The protesters proceeded to block both directions of traffic on West Route 66.
As the group reached the train tracks at San Francisco Street and Route 66, a driver in an SUV stopped in the intersection and “flipped off” the protesters, who surrounded the vehicle in response, Hernandez said witnesses reported. The driver was identified as James Kleinhenz, 51, of Flagstaff.
According to witnesses, protesters opened Kleinhenz’s car doors and removed things from inside, including his cell phone and keys. One protester, a minor, allegedly smashed the cell phone with his skateboard, said Hernandez.
At this point, Kleinhenz exited his vehicle with a handgun drawn, which police quickly apprehended. He also appeared to be intoxicated, which officers began to investigate.
Protesters meanwhile threw eggs and at least one rock at his vehicle, according to Hernandez, as they occupied the intersection for about 15 minutes.
Three people were arrested during the incident. Kleinhenz was arrested on suspicion of driving while impaired and with a high blood alcohol concentration.
Taymond Tolthe, 24, of Flagstaff, was arrested on suspicion of burglary, criminal damage, obstructing a public thoroughfare, disorderly conflict, and other charges. He was also suspected of aggravated assault of an officer and resisting arrest.
The minor was arrested on suspicion of felony criminal damage.
The investigation is ongoing, Hernandez said.
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