Witnesses claim a black church groundskeeper in South Phoenix was roughed up by Phoenix police officers, who just left him there.
The man, Frank Morrison, suffered a stroke during his run-in with police, and has been hospitalized since early Monday morning.
It’s unclear exactly why police were at the Word Center church and the surrounding church-owned properties — where the church helps house people — around Third Street and Southern Avenue, around 4 a.m. on Monday.
Phoenix police have not been very eager to explain the situation, e-mailing New Times a statement (which can be read below) instead of answering questions.
People who were there say police told them they were looking for a burglary suspect, as Morrison was handcuffed, taken to the ground, and tossed against a police car, according to witnesses — before being released with no ticket or any citation, and dumped on the side of the road in front of the church, as officers took off.
Morrison wasn’t able to relay all the details of the incident this morning, as hospital staff at the Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center cut off interviews with Morrison due to his rising blood pressure.
Local black activists Jeffrey Metcalfe and Jarrett Maupin both believe the incident is race-related, as Maupin pointed out that stories like this don’t tend to come out of Phoenix’s predominantly white neighborhoods.
“If [police] can’t do it at 24th Street and Camelback (near the Biltmore Estates), you can’t do it at Third Street and Southern,” Maupin says.
Gee, I wonder why he has high blood pressure….