Small group protests for Dion Johnson as trooper who fatally shot him won’t be charged

A small group gathered in downtown Phoenix on Tuesday night to protest the announcement on Monday that Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel will not criminally charge state Department of Public Safety Trooper George Cervantes in the killing of Dion Johnson.

A handful of people showed up outside the old City Hall building about 7 p.m. and waited for more, with some passing the time by drawing messages such as “Justice for Dion” and “No Justice No Peace” on and around the old City Hall building in chalk. By 9 p.m., about two dozen people, many dressed in all black, were congregated. 

The group was quiet, and at least five declined to talk with The Arizona Republic. Two Phoenix Police Department vehicles were stationed nearby and a helicopter circled once.

Johnson, 28, died after Cervantes shot him on May 25 on Loop 101 near Tatum Boulevard. Johnson was killed on Memorial Day, the same day George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. 

Their deaths led to weeks of protests in the Phoenix area that demanded equal treatment for people of color.

“We have got to start with our state. We can’t even reach the national level until we figure out our state,” said Chase McIntosh, who said he helped organize the protest. Although it was small, McIntosh said protests make a difference. 

“Give us six months, and I guarantee you will see change. I can guarantee it. Just since we started doing this, there has already been progressive change,” he said.

Attendee Darien Barrett, an organizer of Tempe Against Police Violence, said he expected more people to join protests in Phoenix after an upcoming expected announcement in the Breonna Taylor case in Kentucky, and in October as Election Day approaches in November. 

“It took 119 days for Allister Adel to make this decision that George Cervantes is going to be a free man. That he’s gonna be able to walk these streets, be able to continue to shoot people in the back,” Barrett told the crowd after 9 p.m. before the group began marching in the streets with two police vehicles following. 

Tuesday was the second night of small protests in response to the decision not to charge Cervantes. On Monday night, about a dozen people protested near Phoenix Police Department headquarters in downtown Phoenix. 

NO CHARGES: Trooper who shot Dion Johnson will not face criminal charges, county attorney says

Reach reporter Perry Vandell at 602-444-2474 or perry.vandell@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @PerryVandell. Reach breaking news reporter Katelyn Keenehan at Katelyn.Keenehan@ArizonaRepublic.com or follow her on Twitter @KatelynKeenehan.

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