Seven people protesting the GOP health care bill were arrested at Sen. Flake's Arizona offices Thursday
Five protesters were arrested at Flake's Phoenix office Wednesday
A protester was arrested after reportedly making threatening remarks at Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s Tucson office around 9 a.m. Thursday morning, according to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
“You know how liberals are going to solve the Republican problem?” the protester asked a staffer, according to Flake’s office. “They are going to get better aim. That last guy tried, but he needed better aim. We will get better aim.”
Staffers working in Flake’s office promptly locked the doors and called the Sheriff’s Department, believing the protester’s remarks were in reference to the shooting of Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise on June 14, according to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. Scalise has remained hospitalized for several weeks and was readmitted to the intensive care unit Wednesday night over concerns about a new infection.
The protester was identified by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department as 59-year-old Mark Prichard. Prichard was later charged with trespassing, a misdemeanor offense, and “threats and intimidation.”
Patrick Diehl, 70, was also arrested later and charged with trespassing after trying to enter the Tucson office. He reportedly attempted to force his way into the office when a staffer opened the door to hand out informational packets, according to the sheriff’s department.
It is unclear whether the two arrested protesters were affiliated with any advocacy groups, however, protests were occurring at the time of the arrests.
Ten progressive groups helped to organize sit-ins at Republican senators offices across the country during the congressional recess to oppose Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Tuscon Chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America hosted a sit-in at Flake’s Tuscon office Thursday.
The Facebook event announcing the protest labeled the Senate version of Republicans’ health care bill “vicious,” “cruel” and an “enormous redistribution of wealth.”
A handful of protesters outside Flake’s Phoenix office were also arrested Thursday.
Flake’s communications director Jason Samuels told CNN that a staffer spoke with the protesters for two hours until the property manager of the building asked the protesters to leave and called the Phoenix Police Department.
The decision to remove the protesters was the building manager’s, not the congressional office’s, Samuels said.
Four women and one man were later arrested after refusing to leave the grounds, according to to the Phoenix Police Department.
Thursday’s events marked the second day of protests at Flake’s Arizona offices. Approximately 20 protesters, including disabled constituents, gathered inside his Phoenix office Wednesday. They were allowed to remain in the office for more than eight hours, Samuels said.
Disability rights advocacy groups claimed Wednesday that they were locked out of bathrooms and that press was denied access to the protests. Five people were also arrested Wednesday night at the request of the building property manager, Phoenix Police Sgt. Jonathan Howard told CNN.
CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report.