PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Tuesday's virtual memorial for Phoenix icon and civil rights leader, Calvin C. Goode, was disrupted by hackers spewing racist comments.
The memorial was held via Zoom at 10 a.m. and streamed on the City of Phoenix's Facebook page because of COVID-19 concerns. Different members of the church and the City spoke about Goode's contributions to Phoenix and his service on the City's council.
While Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego delivered her speech about Goode, a hacker's voice was suddenly heard talking over her saying vulgar and racist comments including the N-word. The racist comments by the male voice continued as well as other voices saying indistinguishable things for about 30 seconds before the virtual ceremony ended.
Gallego tweeted about the hack, saying she condemns the racist words and that Phoenix police and the FBI are coordinating to investigate the attack.
Sgt. Maggie Cox with the Phoenix Police Department said after consulting with the FBI, Phoenix PD will be the lead investigators in the case. Phoenix police released the following statement on the hack:
"Today, at approximately 10:20 a.m., a virtual funeral service for Vice Mayor Calvin Goode’s was disrupted when unknown persons were heard making derogatory and racial comments. 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.
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."
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.— Mayor Kate Gallego (@MayorGallego) January 12, 2021
Mayor Gallego held a video conference a couple hours after the memorial service to address the disruption.
"I spoke with Vice Mayor Goode's family after the funeral services. They offered me the same refrain that Vice Mayor Goode often offered, 'There's more work to do,'" Gallego said. "There is unquestionably more work to do in combating racism."
Gallego said the Phoenix Police Department is taking this very seriously and they are actively working to track down the person who hacked the service. She also said the City will be working with community members and Goode's family to discuss the best way to move forward and honor his legacy.
"We are a better city because of his service," Gallego said.
Joseph Delgardo said he's been friends with Goode for more than 20 years, and the man lived up to his name.
"It's sad," said Delgardo. "I've lost a lot of great people in my lifetime, and he was one of them." He was watching the online memorial when the hackers interrupted.
"They shut it down, and I was extremely wiped out and saddened because to me it was the desecration of a funeral of a great man, and his greatness has nothing to do with his color," said Delgardo. "His greatness had to do with his heart." Delgardo said he uncontrollably wept at what he heard.
"I felt that person, whoever he is, I hope he is punished because to do that at that moment is emotionally destroying to a lot of people who loved Calvin Goode," said Delgardo. "...as Dr. King said, stop judging me on the color of my skin. Judge me on the content of my character. Until that happens, it's going to be a sad state of affairs in this country."
Calvin Goode died on Dec. 23 at the age of 93. He served on the Phoenix City Council for 22 years and was known for his civil rights work. He was the second Black person ever elected to the City's council and also served as Vice Mayor. In 1994, Phoenix renamed a municipal building located at 251 West Washington Street in downtown Phoenix to honor Goode for his decades-long connection to the community.
Anyone with information regarding the hack is asked to call Phoenix police. To remain anonymous, call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or for Spanish speakers, call 480-TESTIGO.