SCOTTSDALE, AZ (NEXSTAR) — A city council member in suburban Phoenix is drawing criticism from the governor and others after invoking George Floyd’s dying words of “I can’t breathe” during a protest over an order to wear masks to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Scottsdale Councilman Guy Phillips uttered the remark at a protest Wednesday but later insisted the comment was about mandatory masks and not police misconduct.
Gov. Doug Ducey, a fellow Republican, slammed Phillips on Twitter. Ducey wrote in part that “despicable doesn’t go far enough. The final words of George Floyd should never be invoked like this.”
Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally of Arizona also weighed in, tweeting, in part, that “it’s disgusting you are mocking the dying words of a murdered man.”
Arizona is one of the states currently battling a big spike in coronavirus cases.
Phillips initially gave a statement to the Arizona Republic claiming his words weren’t connected to George Floyd.
He apologized in a second statement but has not actually admitted he was mocking Floyd.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.