Police identify Jaywalker killed near protest over jaywalking arrest

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A person was killed in a car-pedestrian crash in Mesa. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A person was killed in a car-pedestrian crash in Mesa. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Police have identified the man killed Thursday night after being hit by a car while jaywalking.

Mesa Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Berry said Elijah Turnbo, 22, was hit and killed Thursday night, just a few blocks from the spot where protesters were gathering to demonstrate against the videotaped arrest of another jaywalker.

The crash happened around 8:30 p.m. on Dobson Road near First Avenue. The driver remained at the scene and is under investigation for suspected impairment.

The incident marks the 10th pedestrian killed in Mesa so far this year, said Det. Steve Berry. He said the incident underscored the need for the continued aggressive enforcement of jaywalking infractions that sparked the incident underlying the protest.

“We’ll have to continue to have our officers make those contacts and hopefully we can slow this down,” he said. “We’ve had as many pedestrian fatal accidents at this point as we typically have in an entire year, and we still have five months to go.”

Berry said it was ironic that Turnbo is similar in description to Jason Michael Barton, the 35-year-old whose arrest prompted Thursday night’s demonstration.

During aggressive jaywalking patrols in Mesa on June 19, police say Barton crossed a street illegally and was stopped by officers. Investigators say Barton also had marijuana on him, and when tried to flee, cell phone video shows officers using force to arrest him.

Protesters have described the arrest as an “assault” on Barton, who is black.

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"Because they chose to beat Jason for jaywalking, we are bringing in hundreds of black people to jaywalk in the city of Mesa,” protest organizer Rev. Jarrett Maupin said Wednesday.

A few dozen protesters turned up for Thursday’s 7 p.m. march, which began outside the Mesa Police Department and ended near Main Street and Extension Road.

Det. Berry said there was no indication Turnbo was part of the protest.

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