‘Run from the Cops’ race postponed

The annual five-kilometre run was planned for Saturday in Tempe, where a white officer killed a 34-year-old black man this week.
Protesters march on a street in Washington on December 5 during the third night of nationwide protests after a grand jury decided not to charge a white police officer in the choking death of Eric Garner. Mladen Antonov / AFP Photo
Protesters march on a street in Washington on December 5 during the third night of nationwide protests after a grand jury decided not to charge a white police officer in the choking death of Eric Garner. Mladen Antonov / AFP Photo

LOS ANGELES // An Arizona police chief has postponed a “Run from the Cops 5K” fund-raising event in light of nationwide protests following a series of killings by police of unarmed black men, including in Phoenix.

The annual five-kilometre run was planned for Saturday in Tempe, just outside the Arizona state capital Phoenix, where a white officer killed a 34-year-old black man this week after mistakingly believing that he had a gun in his pocket.

“Out of sensitivity, respect, and support for all sides of an important debate taking place all across our great nation, it is necessary to proactively postpone this year’s race,” wrote Tempe police chief Tom Ryff.

The event was designed to raise money for a variety of local causes including supporting the families of fallen or injured Tempe police officers.

“At the time — three years ago — when the race and its name were conceived, no one could have predicted the events of the future,” said the police chief.

“Or, that the name of our event could be construed, and possibly misinterpreted, by some to mean the exact opposite of our intentions — to hold an event which brings the community and our police department together.”

The announcement came as more protests erupted in major cities across America demanding justice.

A grand jury declined on Wednesday to charge a white police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black father-of-six in July on Staten Island, New York.

The jury decision came a week after another grand jury also opted not to charge a white policeman in the fatal shooting in August of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

Protests were peaceful on their third night in New York although 20 arrests took place, authorities said on Saturday.

Protesters were arrested for disorderly conduct and blocking traffic on the city’s FDR Drive, a major artery that runs along the eastern side of Manhattan, police said.

“The protests remained very peaceful throughout the night,” said Detective Michael DeBonis, a spokesman for the New York Police Department.

* Agence France-Presse and Reuters

Published: December 6, 2014 04:00 AM

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