Former Missouri lawmaker arrested at Phoenix protest

Associated Press
The Rolla Daily News

PHOENIX — Activist and former Missouri Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. was among eight people arrested at a protest in Phoenix. 

The Arizona Republic reports  that the arrests happened Sunday after a group breached a barricade in front of Phoenix Police headquarters. Police also fired less-lethal rounds including pepper balls at a crowd of about 40 protesters during the confrontation. 

Franks, who has been freed, said Monday that the protest was nonviolent and denied that he or others committed crimes but also said organizers hadn't planned to knock down barricades. The 35-year-old worked with a new group calling itself The Good People For Good Trouble.

"That wasn't part of the plan, but it happened," Franks explained of the toppled fence. "But it didn't have to escalate to the point that it did. ... The police went into escalation mode."

Police say entering area in front of headquarters is criminal trespassing.

The event began as a silent march in tribute of Michael Brown on the sixth anniversary of the Black 18-year-old's killing by police in Ferguson, Missouri, according to Franks.