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Arizona City Councilman Mockingly Shouts ‘I Can’t Breathe!’ Before Removing Mask At ‘Anti-Mask’ Rally

NBC 12 News

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.

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.”

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.

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.

Twitter was understandably outraged by the video of Councilman Phillips mocking murdered Black men.

Many called for the Councilman’s immediate resignation.

Phillips found no sympathy from his fellow Republican, Governor Doug Ducey.

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.

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Written by Collin Gossel

Collin Gossel is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York, but there are nights when he looks up at the stars and wistfully thinks to himself “there’s got to be more out there…” You can catch Collin improvising new musicals every Tuesday night at the Magnet Theater’s Musical Megawatt, or follow his unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram @CollinGossel.--