If you've lived in the Valley for any length of time, you've probably heard of the Rev. Jarrett Maupin. But who is this outspoken man?
On his Twitter and Facebook pages, Maupin describes himself this way: "Progressive Baptist Preacher. Civil Rights Campaigner. Radical Political Activist. I Fight The Good Fight... "Keep The Faith, Baby!"
While Maupin is not serving as a reverend anywhere right now, he was an interim preacher at a church in South Phoenix. He was licensed to preach at the Greater New Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Sept. 18, 2011. A few months earlier he was "licensed for ministry" at First Congression United Church of Christ.
According to OurCampaigns.com, a collaborative online community for political discussions formed in 2002, Maupin has been a minister since he was 12 years old.
"Jarrett is proud to have been fostered in leadership under the guidance of such civil rights luminaries as Dolores Huerta and the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Leon Sullivan; growing and learning in the movement for human rights started by Dr. King," the site reads.
The gold medallion Maupin is known for wearing is an Ethiopian military medal from the 1940s given to him by the friend of an old civil rights leader.
Maupin ran for Congress in 2014, hoping to represent Arizona's 7th District. In the primary, he was soundly defeated by Ruben Gallego.
The race was not without controversy.
First, some found it odd that he was endorsed by a strip club called The Great Alaskan Bush Company of Phoenix.
Second, he could not vote.
"Maupin was unable to vote for himself in the primary election due to the fact that he was a felon still serving probation," according to BallotPedia.com.
That probation stemmed from a federal indictment handed down in January 2009 following Maupin's arrest in late 2008, according to the Phoenix Division of the FBI.
"In his plea agreement, Maupin admitted that in September 2008, he falsely informed the FBI that a local elected official engaged in criminal activity in order to hurt the official politically," reads an FBI news release about Maupin's sentence.
That official was then-Mayor Phil Gordon, who was first elected in 2003 and then re-elected in 2007. Maupin ran in the 2007 race but was dropped after the Maricopa County Clerk's Office discovered that nearly 200 of the signatures that put him on the ballot were collected by convicted felons.
As for criminal activity Maupin alleged, he accused Gordon of being a child molester.
Maupin was in his early 20s at the time and a member of the governing board of the Phoenix Union High School District. His plea agreement required him to resign that position.
These days, Maupin earns money speaking to schools around the country and doing "consulting" work.
"Money is good right now," Maupin told reporter Jared Dillingham.
The failed politician has been outspoken in his criticism of law enforcement in the wake of several deadly officer-involved shootings throughout the country.
In 2015, he accepted an invitation from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to take part in use-of-force training, including simulated shoot/don't shoot situations like the ones law enforcement officers encounter on practically a daily basis.
In the first of three scenarios, he was shot and killed. In the second, he shot and killed the suspect.
“I shot because he was in that zone,” Maupin explained to a police trainer, wrote PoliceOne.com staff. “I felt that was an imminent threat – I didn’t necessarily see him armed but he came clearly to do some harm to the officer – to my person.”
He resolved the third scenario with no shots fired.
Mover and shaker close to the headlines
Maupin made headlines in 2014 when he became involved in the case of a mother accused of leaving her young children unattended in a car while she went to a 45-minute job interview.
The story, complete with Taylor's tearful booking photo, went viral.
"This was not a crime of child abuse, this is a crime of desperation," Maupin said.
Maupin was one of Taylor's biggest supporters, even helping her arrange a deal with the prosecutor's office and setting up job interviews for her.
He later said she "squandered" the opportunities given to her.
Taylor, in turn, accused him of extortion, claiming he asked her for a $4,000 to his political campaign.
"He was very angry when I threw him off my defense team in August," she said in a statement she gave to a website called The Daily Kos.
Maupin has been connected with several high-profile cases, even if only peripherally, in recent years.
When President Barack Obama used the N-word last June, Maupin participated in a conference call with civil rights activists nationwide. He said the heart of the conversation focused on the fact that ignorance should not be tolerated.
"That's what I think he [the president] was trying to do, get us to talk about the issue of race as we are a nation divided by race," Maupin said.
When an investigatory board ruled in 2015 that a Phoenix officer who shot and killed a mentally ill woman in August 2014 'did not comply' with department policy, Maupin stood with the victim's mother at a news conference, praising the decision.
During a bus strike at the beginning of this year, Maupin was one of the negotiators for the drivers' union.
"Unfortunately, because of perhaps their lobbyists or their ties to City Hall, they've got our City Council and mayor by the balls," he said of Transdev, the company against which the drivers were striking. "But they don't have us by the balls, and that's why we're going on strike."
Black Lives Matter
While he invokes the phrase Black Lives Matter, those behind the Black Lives Matter movement said Maupin's events are not their events.
"We also publicly announce that we have nothing to do with the planned protest or march this evening," Pastor Reginald D. Walton, the chairman of Black Lives Matter Arizona, said in a statement before last week's march in Downtown Phoenix. "Rev. Jarrett Maupin does not represent AZ Black Lives Matter and his event is not sanctioned by AZ Black Lives Matter."
The movement continues to try and distance itself from Maupin.
An activist in the Black Lives Matter movement on Thursday urged protesters not to attend Friday night’s demonstration along the Camelback Corridor.
"I'm all for protesting. I'm all for marching. But I'm all for doing it the smart way and the safe way," said Redeem Robinson with the Empowerment Social Action Group of Arizona.
Robinson said the event last Friday, which ended with police firing pepper spray and six people injured, was a "complete disaster."
Just hours before the Camelback Corridor event, Maupin made his clear that his gathering is supposed to be a peaceful one.
"We're coming in the spirit of nonviolence," he said. "The police aren't here to take people to jail. They're here to protect the right to free speech and protest.
"You go west on Camelback and I'll help police arrest you," he continued. "Don't mess with this protest. We are nonviolent. We're telling violent people to stay away from here."
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