By Lorraine Longhi | Arizona Republic
Scottsdale Councilman Guy Phillips said Tuesday he will not resign his seat following backlash after last week hosting a protest against mask-wearing requirements, during which he said, “I can’t breathe,” to the crowd.
Those words were spoken by George Floyd moments before he died at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25. His death has sparked protests in Arizona and across the nation led by Black Lives Matter calling for racial justice and police reforms.
Phillips’ response comes after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and several other city and state officials issued statements last week condemning Phillips’ comments. Lane on Monday added to his rebuke of Phillips, calling for the councilman to resign.
The controversy began after Phillips uttered the phrase through a mask that he donned, then ripped off, to cheers and applause from a crowd of anti-mask protesters last Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Phillips held a press conference saying he didn’t regret having the rally, but that the incident had been a misunderstanding and he had no intention of mocking anybody.