In Arizona, where virus numbers have been spiking following the state’s reopening, Republican Governor Doug Ducey gave local leaders the authority to mandate masks in an effort to slow the spread of illness.
But when Republican Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane issued an order requiring people to wear masks in public, he received immediate pushback from members of his community.
City Councilman Guy Phillips went so far as to post a flyer online advertising an anti-mask rally titled “Unmask Us!”
At the rally, Phillips began his remarks by twice screaming “I can’t breathe”—the last words of George Floyd and Eric Garner that have been echoed by protesters around the country—before Phillips ripped off his mask and threw it to the ground.
A city councilman in Scottsdale, Arizona, organized an Anti-Mask rally on Wednesday.
When he was introduced at the rally, Councilman Guy Phillips shockingly shouted (twice):
"I can't breathe!"
before ripping off his mask and tossing it down. https://t.co/hoKQz50akN.
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) June 24, 2020
Here is the video of Scottsdale City Councilman Guy Phillips shouting "I Can't Breathe" before removing his mask at today's Anti-Mask Rally in Arizona:
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) June 24, 2020
Here’s video of Scottsdale City Councilman Guy Phillips shouting "I Can't Breathe" before removing his mask at today's Anti-Mask Rally in Arizona:
Mocking Eric Garner & George Floyd and many others in this moment is something I feel compelled to expose…pic.twitter.com/4drg23zWUD
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) June 25, 2020
Mayor Lane later commented on Phillips’ actions, saying:
“Councilman Phillips’ comments at his anti-mask protest rally today at City Hall do not represent the values of our Scottsdale community.”
“I share the profound disappointment expressed by many residents at the words Mr. Phillips chose– to use the phrase ‘I can’t breathe’ during this moment in time was callous and insensitive.”
Guy Phillips, this clip should end your career quickly.
Thanks, Rex. https://t.co/Sk41WtnDWn
— steven pasquale (@StevePasquale) June 25, 2020
What a POS Guy Phillips is.
This is disgusting and if Guy Phillips has a job tomorrow something is serious wrong.
You don't Eric Garner and George Floyd or ANY of the MANY black men chocked, strangles and suffocated by police.
— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) June 25, 2020
In addition to the outrage over Phillips mocking calls for an end to racial bias in law enforcement, Arizona hit new records for new cases and hospitalizations this past week for the viral pathogen at the root of the global pandemic.
With deaths expected to continue to rise, especially if the state’s hospitals become overwhelmed, the government has looked to face masks which have been proven to make a major dent in the spread of the virus.
— Laurie Roberts (@LaurieRoberts) June 25, 2020
I hope that #GuyPhillips gets exactly what he deserves.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
That feels fair in this moment, don’t cha think? https://t.co/gxE8XYeeUs
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) June 25, 2020
Some, like Phillips, see rules making masks compulsory as infringements on their personal freedom.
Anti-mask protests have even drawn Republican Senate candidates like Daniel McCarthy.
Crowd filling in outside Scottsdale City Hall for an “anti-mask” rally. This less than a week after Scottsdale and other AZ cities issued mask mandates for many public settings #12News pic.twitter.com/igGwO1w2O5
— Erica Stapleton (@EricaReportsAll) June 24, 2020
Twitter was understandably outraged by the video of Councilman Phillips mocking murdered Black men.
Councilman Guy Phillips sickens me.
— Peter Morley (@morethanmySLE) June 25, 2020
Guy Phillips’ disgusting conduct unequivocally violated the City of Scottsdale’s Ethics Policy. The City is required to review complaints and enforce this policy.
I will be at @scottsdaleazgov tomorrow filing a complaint.
If you want to do the same, you know how to reach me. pic.twitter.com/tLdBNimikb
— Justin (@SoSaysJ) June 25, 2020
— Amy Aiello Lofgren (@azsweetheart013) June 25, 2020
Many called for the Councilman’s immediate resignation.
— Grant Woods (@GrantWoods) June 25, 2020
Get famous, Guy Philips. https://t.co/pBqqoFHJ1x
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) June 25, 2020
Phillips found no sympathy from his fellow Republican, Governor Doug Ducey.
Just flat out wrong. Despicable doesn’t go far enough. The final words of George Floyd should NEVER be invoked like this. Anyone who mocks the murder of a fellow human has no place in public office. Period. https://t.co/l0wyVE2BP4
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) June 25, 2020
With even Arizona’s Republican Governor denouncing Phillip’s words, it seems likely he will face political consequences of some sort. Most people online believe whatever befalls the councilman will be well deserved.