Ferry Hernandez, executive director of Poder in Action, a nonprofit that works with people who have lost loved ones to police violence, said.
After Mr Floyd was killed while in police custody last year in Minneapolis, activists across the country, including Phoenix, have called for police departments to be defunded. While the movement has gained momentum in some cities, such as Minneapolis and Los Angeles, Ms. Hernandez said officials in Phoenix have shown little willingness to cut the police budget.
“We’ve said this for years, and in the last year after George Floyd, our demands reverberated in the streets,” she said, quickly adding, “Cutting out funding doesn’t happen here even though members of the community have made it a priority.”
In recent years, Arizona and Maricopa County, including Phoenix, have had some of the highest rates of police shootings resulting in deaths. Data analysis from 2015 to 2020, one study It found that Arizona has the fourth-highest police murder rate among states, while Maricopa County has the ninth-highest rate among the 100 most populous counties in the country.
At the same time, homelessness is becoming a growing concern in Phoenix, along with other cities, particularly in the western United States, as more people live on the streets amid a pandemic and mental health and addiction crises. Concern activists and those experiencing homelessness were police response: The constant stream of early morning sweeps of homeless camps, as officers confiscate people’s property.
“The police are just playing Whac-a-Mole, and they are just pushing them from place to place,” said Elizabeth Venable, founder of the Empowerment Fund’s Homeless Leadership Project, which advocates for the homeless.
Ms Venable said Justice Department officials called her this week to take part in the investigation, and said she would organize groups of people to meet with federal investigators to discuss the police response to homelessness.