A Scottsdale, Arizona city councilman quoted George Floyd’s last words to protest against his state’s requirement to wear a mask to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. At a Wednesday rally of roughly 200 people, Guy Phillips said, “I can’t breathe,” the same words that Floyd, an unarmed black man, uttered while dying in the custody of Minneapolis police officers. The slogan has been common at Black Lives Matter protests for several years, as Eric Garner, choked by New York City police officers, also said it on camera before he died in 2014. Arizona has become a coronavirus hotspot in recent weeks, with cases spiking so quickly that hospitals are running out of beds. Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane called Phillips’ remarks “callous and insensitive,” and the councilman apologized to the Floyd family late Wednesday. He said he did not intend to invoke Floyd’s killing.
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