Phoenix, AZ – A protester who was shot in the groin with a less-lethal round at an anti-Trump rally in 2017 said he has started a non-profit to raise awareness of “police overreach” in Arizona (video below).
KPHO captured the Aug. 22, 2017 altercation between Joshua “Pepperballs” Cobin and officers outside of the Phoenix Convention Center, where President Donald Trump was holding a rally.
Cobin, who was wearing a gas mask during the incident, ran in front of police lines and refused to disperse when ordered to do so, The Arizona Republic reported.
“My thought process is that that was not unlawful assembly, and that I had every right to be there,” he told KPHO the day after the rally.
According to court documents, Cobin ran over to a tear gas canister and attempted to kick it at police. He ultimately picked the canister up, and threw it at officers, The Arizona Republic reported.
Cobin then hurled a second canister, and later admitted to KPHO that he sustained second-degree burns from the canisters’ hot metal.
“That tear gas was in the way of myself and other peacefully assembled protesters being there,” he said. “I don’t equate kicking or putting back tear gas canisters as attacking police.”
The video showed Cobin kicking another gas canister at the officers, who responded by firing a less-lethal round at the man, hitting him hear his groin.
Then a man in a Colin Kaepernick jersey ran in, and helped Cobin out of the roadway.
“It missed everything important, so it was just a couple inches too high,” he later told KPHO. “It was just more of a shock and, you know, your body going into the turtle defense mode kinda thing…”
The GoDaddy sales and support representative was arrested at his workplace two days after the rally on three felony counts of aggravated assault on a peace officer, and one misdemeanor charge of unlawful assembly.
He has since pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor count, after prosecutors agreed to drop the felony offenses.
“Yes, I overstepped the line I would say, hence my plea there,” he told KPHO, before he placed blame on officers for their strong response.
“The police, as well as people on the other side, tried to paint me as a terrorist or an ANTIFA member, which I am not,” he told KPHO.
Cobin noted that he was shot in the back with another “pepper ball” round that night.
He said that he was collecting donations to start a non-profit called the Arizona Foundation for Victims of Police Abuse, which will also help post bond for people who believe they have been wrongfully detained.
“We want to provide legal and financial aid to everyday Arizonans who, through no fault of their own, were subject to unjustified or excessive police violence as well those who cannot afford bail under $500,” the foundation website read.
“Yeah my opinion might make people angry,” Cobin acknowledged to KPHO. “But this is America, and we’re allowed to make people angry with our opinions.”
Watch the end of Cobin’s encounter with officers in the video below: