Racist slurs interrupt funeral for Phoenix civil rights icon

Full Screen
1 / 6

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Members of the Phoenix Police Department stand vigil during the open casket viewing of former Phoenix Vice Mayor and city councilman Calvin C. Goode at the Calvin C. Goode Municipal Building in Phoenix, Ariz. on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. Goode died on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. He was 93. (AP Photo/Cheyanne Mumphrey)

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Police Department is investigating after a virtual funeral for civil rights icon and city leader Calvin Coolidge Goode was interrupted Tuesday by hackers yelling racist slurs.

“The Phoenix Police Department has been made aware of the incident and after speaking with the FBI, the department will be the lead investigative agency,” spokeswoman Maggie Cox said in an email. “This type of language and disruption is unacceptable and only divides our community. We are committed to working with our community in identifying the person(s) responsible for this act.”

Mayor Kate Gallego on Twitter condemned the comments and said the city does not tolerate hate crimes.

“I condemn the racists who disrupted Vice Mayor Goode’s funeral services. This is horrific and does not represent the values & commitment of our community. I am determined to continue Vice Mayor Goode’s fight," Gallego said.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also condemned the incident.

“Former councilman Calvin Goode was a civil rights leader who served with honor and distinction. The racist and abhorrent remarks made during his funeral service today are wrong and I condemn them,” Ducey said on Twitter.

Goode died on Dec. 23 from an illness not related to COVID-19. He was 93.

Goode was the second Black councilmember for the city of Phoenix and the longest-tenured elected official in its history, serving on the Phoenix City Council from Jan. 2, 1972, until Jan. 3, 1994, including as vice mayor in 1974 and 1984.

“The hate act that occurred during the celebration of life for Vice Mayor Goode today was atrocious and unforgivable,” Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski said in a statement. “We must do better.”

Goode spent his time fighting to improve the quality of life in Phoenix for low-income Black residents long after his last days on the council. He retired in 1994, but he continued advocating for equal opportunity, affordable housing and education through multiple organizations.

Gallego was speaking on the legacy Goode had left in Phoenix, when a man was heard spewing slurs over her comments about a half hour into the virtual service, the KTAR radio station reported.

The Historic Tanner Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church hosted the stream on its Facebook page, with family members, city officials and friends speaking through Zoom. The church resumed the memorial in a new stream.

“He deserves to be laid to rest with deep respect and gratitude, not hateful racist remarks,” Democratic U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego said.

“Civility is the cornerstone of society. Unfortunately, too many of our political leaders do not practice what they preach. When they engage in hateful rhetoric, or give tacit approval of it through their silence, those who hold hatred in their heart feel emboldened to act," Maricopa County Board of Supervisor Steve Gallardo said. "We saw it last week at the U.S. Capitol. We saw it today at the funeral of Calvin Goode. This behavior cannot stand in America.”


This article has been corrected to say KTAR is a radio station, not a TV station.