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Video provides glimpse of man waving firearm during protest in Flagstaff

Video provides glimpse of man waving firearm during protest in Flagstaff

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Incident

A video spread through the internet on Thursday that protesters say sheds new light on a confrontation at a protest last Saturday that ended with three people arrested in Flagstaff.

The Flagstaff Police Department arrested three people downtown after one man drove his vehicle in front of a march of 75 to 100 protesters and “flipped off” the demonstrators, according to police. As the protesters continued to walk, the man exited his vehicle to engage the protesters. Police said the man brought out a gun, but arrested him for driving while intoxicated, and the other two protesters were arrested for property crimes.

A Flagstaff police aide could be seen in the newly released video trying to deescalate the situation between 51-year-old Jimmy Kleinhenz, who was the driver of the SUV, and the crowd of protesters. Flagstaff police aides are not sworn officers, do not carry firearms, do not have the power to arrest and cannot initiate sworn criminal enforcement duties, according to city documents.

Levi Stallings said he recorded and uploaded the video of the incident to YouTube to allow people to see the evidence as opposed to presenting it straight to police. He felt the charges the protesters received were more harsh compared to the charges against Kleinhenz, who Stalling said parked his car in the intersection and waived his gun at a crowd of people.

Kleinhenz was arrested for driving under the influence and having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher, but was not booked into the Coconino County jail. Meanwhile, Taymond Tolthe, 24, was arrested for burglary, criminal damage, obstructing a public thoroughfare, refusing to provide a truthful name and disorderly conduct. Tolthe was also charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest.

The minor was charged with felony criminal damage.

“I don’t know about the juvenile, but we do know that Tolthe was booked into jail for being a non-violent protester. He did not put anyone’s life or safety at risk,” Stallings said. “We have Kleinhenz, who, not to say it again and again, was drunkenly waving a gun around in an intersection and was not put in jail. That seems clearly unfair.”

Police said Wednesday they were unable to determine how Kleinhenz had used his weapon at the protest, citing a lack of evidence and public cooperation. Now investigators are trying to track down the unedited video to include the video footage in their investigation, according to Charles Hernandez, spokesman for the Flagstaff Police Department.

"That’s why we put out a call for action in the media release, for those who were witnesses with additional info to provide. We‘d like that brought to us to include in the investigation and to put forth a complete investigation," Hernandez said.

Hernandez said because the video is edited with a silhouette at the end, investigators would like to view the full unedited video before taking any more steps in the investigation.

"We would like to look at the original video, that way we can look at it and the totality of circumstances to determine if there is criminal activity or anything criminal that needs to be address through investigators or prosecutors," Hernandez said. "Looking at the video, I can’t say. I could say I see him holding the gun, but what is he doing when it’s slowed down and focused on? You can’t see what’s around or in front of him because the black zooms in around the picture he has."

Kleinhenz organized a protest for Blue Lives Matter in support of police funding in June on the Flagstaff City Hall lawn. On the same day, protesters in support of defunding police were on the lawn to raise awareness about the city council's budget discussions.

The video

Stallings' edited video footage is believed to show Kleinhenz at two different moments throughout the day on Saturday: first when he stopped his vehicle in front of protesters who were walking down South San Francisco Street at the East Route 66 intersection.

Resident Morgan Mo who saw the video said he was driving down to join the protest and said he almost struck Kleinhenz as he exited his vehicle in a roadway.

At the time, Kleinhenz appears to ask protesters if they have a firearm. While the protesters cannot be heard, Kleinhenz can.

“So do we, brother,” Kleinhenz said.

The video then cuts to Kleinhenz stopping his car in front of protesters.

The video shows two people approach Kleinhenz in his car after he is blocking marching protesters and making the obscene gesture. Kleinhenz begins to exit the vehicle when the video cuts to him yelling at protesters. A Flagstaff police aide is then seen separating Kleinhenz from the crowd. At this point, eggs and a water bottle can be seen hitting the driver’s windshield.

Kleinhenz then returns to his car, turns to the crowd and can be seen for a short moment holding a firearm that he appears to wave in the direction of the protesters.

Protesters yell at the police aide, who wasn't looking at the driver, to get the aide to pay attention to the gun.

“He’s got a [expletive] gun,” one masked protester yells. “He’s got a [expletive] gun.”

The police aide moves to Kleinhenz, talks him down, and gets between the driver and protesters to deescalate the situation. It appears that Kleinhenz eventually puts the firearm away.

The video then cuts to Kleinhenz continuing an argument with another protester before ending.

Kleinhenz did not respond to an attempt to comment Friday afternoon.

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