ASU student arrested in protest against shooting death of Tempe teenager

Benjamin Cooper was one of four protesters arrested on Thursday night

ASU student Benjamin Cooper was arrested by Tempe police on Thursday night following a protest at a Tempe City Council meeting.

The protest was one of several demonstrations that have occurred since the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Antonio Arce by a Tempe police officer on Jan. 15.  

Cooper, a junior majoring in history, was one of four protesters who were arrested at the demonstration. The protesters were arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, aggravated assault on a police officer and obstructing the road.

The other three protesters — Darien Barrett, Jessica Behrens, and Britney Austin — were charged with misdemeanors and released on their own recognizance.  

Cooper was charged with a felony count of aggravated assault on an officer and remained in custody until Friday night, when he was released from the Fourth Avenue jail in Phoenix. 

Cooper is a member of the Young Democratic Socialists of America at ASU and serves as the organization's agitprop director. The club has previously been vocal on social media with criticisms of the Tempe police department and support for Arce's family. 

Arce was fatally shot by Tempe police officer Joseph Jaen on Jan. 15. Jaen allegedly saw Arce breaking into a vehicle and mistook the airsoft gun he was holding as a real weapon. 

Body camera footage of the incident, which was released to members of the media and Arce's family in late January, revealed that Jaen fired two bullets at Arce. One hit Arce between the shoulder blades, killing him.

Read more: A note from the State Press Executive Editor

Since Arce's death, protesters have made repeated calls for Jaen and Tempe Chief of Police Sylvia Moir to be fired. Jaen was put on administrative leave following the incident while the police department conducted criminal and administrative investigations into the matter.

Official police reports about the arrests have not been made available to the public records office as of the publication of this story.

Cooper declined to comment for this story. 

Editor's Note: Benjamin Cooper is currently a columnist for The State Press Magazine. He was not involved in the reporting or editing of this story, and did not speak to The State Press as a source. The executive editor of The State Press released a note with additional details before the publication of this story.


Reach the reporter at krquaran@asu.edu and follow @kiaraquaranta on Twitter. 

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