Filed under: Southwest
Two weeks ago, there were several rallies across the country in support of the protests in Portland. Some went well, others went sideways, like this one in Arizona. Local Flagstaff folks have this report.
KINLANI (SO-CALLED FLAGSTAFF, AZ) — A solidarity rally with Black Lives Matter and Portland resistance against state violence was held on Saturday, July 25 on the Southside of “Flagstaff” near Northern Arizona University (NAU). Folx came masked up, and ready to participate. We occupied the Northwest corner while waiting for more folks to join up prior to marching. A local fascist named James Kleinhenz stopped and got out of his vehicle to harass the group. Local Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice (S.H.A.R.Ps) and other community members created boundary with their bodies. The fascist left but not without making a range of threats including a remark while driving by that they “have guns too.” At this point some words where shared setting the intention of centering Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) and Trans relatives towards abolition of police everywhere.
As folx collectively decided to march, two young white men made their way to the front and loudly began to impose colonial christian prayers and attempted to derail the groups autonomous and collective voice. They were quickly exhausted by a number of methods implemented in a badass tag team style that was diverse and felt instinctual. Demonstrating agency and support for each other quickly and effectively (something that no doubt set the tone for the following two hours). As we wound through the Southside holding major road ways, the group continued to grow to more than 75 to 100 people. With dozens of Flagstaff PD and NAU cops managing traffic and following, the group took both lanes on streets, intersections and shut down traffic throughout the busy downtown area. In all it felt free form with lots of folx jumping in on chants, rotating roles for tactical use of banners, and maintaining a cart with necessary supplies. Everyone looked out and took care of each other including unsheltered relatives who joined to rage against the long-term police violence and racism they face every day. There was a couple instances of people using their cars to intimidate protesters, but the group stood their ground and no one was hurt.
As the group marched up San Francisco street, a black SUV stopped in the intersection of Route 66. The fascist from earlier, James Kleinhenz, was now wearing a “blue lives” bandana and proceeded to flip off the approaching marchers. He exited his vehicle and attempted to attack participants, pushing people and ripping the sign out of one participants hands. The group rallied to quickly defend each other and in the melee someone liberated his keys and cell phone, effectively turning the SUV into a blockade in one of the busiest intersections in so-called Flagstaff. As the group swelled around him, he reached into his vehicle and pulled a gun on the crowd. People immediately sounded the alarm while a nearby pig trying to protect him stood by. The fascist put the gun in his pocket and continued to threaten people. Some fierce folx attacked the vehicle on the opposite side and cops tried to grab them but they were quickly and safely unarrested. The crowd remained in the intersection for more than 30 minutes until a tow truck hauled the fascist’s ride away. According to a police news release, Kleinhenz was intoxicated and arrested. It was also further learned that two folx including a minor were arrested and charged with felonies due to their alleged roles in defending our community from this fascist. (Support information is shared below).
Chants of “Fascists get the fuck out,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “Fuck the police,” echoed throughout the streets along with the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Unsheltered relatives were prepared to fight the fascist and cops with the local S.H.A.R.P.s stepping in to act as security.
After the tow truck left, the group continued to march and take the streets of downtown for another 40 minutes. The action ended after announcements were made on how to safely leave the march with buddies to ensure no one was isolated and grabbed by the cops.
Behind a seemingly standard, blue collar mask hides the visage of a dangerous man. Jimmy is a member of “Back the Blue” and “Blue Lives Matter”. He has done everything in his power, along with his lemmings, to disrupt, intimidate, and, on two very specific and separate occasions, threaten the lives and well being of protesters involved with Indigenous rights and Black Lives Matter. The first occasion was at a demonstration located on the east side of Flagstaff. He was driving his vehicle, visibly impaired (allegedly) with one of his children in it. He exited his vehicle and confronted demonstrators, threatening them with a firearm. Local police did nothing more than ask him to leave. The second and much more frightening instance occurred when during a protest for Black Lives Matter” in downtown Flagstaff, he pulled his vehicle into the midst of a group of legal and peaceful demonstrators. He stepped out of his vehicle and began taunting protesters. He was once again under the influence.
When protesters didn’t back away, he pulled out a pistol and brandished it at the group. All of this was done in plain sight of police. Initially, he was taken in on one singular charge: DUI in the slightest. But no charges were officially filed against him. He has family ties with local police and he used this to his advantage. On both occasions he committed multiple felonies with the second instance being documented on video. The official police report was egregiously falsified. He has been allowed to operate with impunity here in our community and will continue to do so until proper, legitimate legal action is taken. If left unchecked the likelihood of him hurting or possibly killing someone is eminent. Flagstaff Police Department has continuously shown no interest in holding him or his group accountable for tactics that are inflammatory, intimidating and civilly unacceptable.
Reportedly, Kleinhenz, 51, is not facing any gun charges related to the incident, according to police, but he has lost his manager position of 12 years at Mission Linen.