According to a report, the small number of Black Lives Matter protests in Phoenix has already cost police more than $11.5 million in “demonstration overtime” alone, New York Post reports.
Following large nationwide protests at the end of May after George Floyd’s death in Minnesota, Phoenix has seen a small number of splinter demonstrations with little violence, according to ABC 15.
However having a heavy police presence and being on standby has racked up $11,543,059 in overtime for Phoenix police — not including other costs, including helicopters and even other agencies helping, the station said.
“We have to be ready,” Phoenix police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune told the station. “Intelligence tells us there’s people that are coming out and continuing to demonstrate, and that’s absolutely their right.
“We want to make sure we are protecting every single person — including our infrastructure,” Fortune said.
“We’re not the only ones in this country feeling this.”
The hefty cost sparked accusations of waste from some local lawmakers, as well as the leader of the local Black Lives Matter chapter, attorney Jamaar Williams.
“I’m tired of the argument that we have to waste millions of dollars on this hypothetical harm,” Williams complained.
Others, including Councilman Sal DiCiccio, believe the cost is nothing compared to allowing protesters to run rampant as in other cities, such as Portland.
“Had Phoenix PD not taken strong steps to quell the destruction we saw here in the first few nights of protesting, and maintained control of our streets through significant continued presence we would have seen the exact same destruction here we’ve seen elsewhere,” Councilman Sal DiCiccio told the station.