Protestors outside the State Bar of Arizona, August 9, 2010

On Monday afternoon, the State Bar of Arizona was the focus of a small gathering of protestors supportive of former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

The eight people, holding signs and a flag, stood outside the southwest corner of the Bar offices. As traffic streamed by on 24th Street in Phoenix, one protestor broadcast her endorsement of Thomas via bullhorn.

Other protestors held signs supporting County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Another held a sign touting the name “Russ,” likely shorthand for State Senator Russell Pearce, prime supporter of the SB1070 immigration legislation. One man wore a sombrero and stood next to a sign reading “Latina Legal Immigrant Tea Party Patriots Defending Our America U.S.A.”

Andrew Thomas is under investigation for a number of ethics complaints originally filed with the State Bar. In the past year, the Bar sought to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest by asking the Arizona Supreme Court to designate another investigator and prosecutor of the charges. The Court agreed and named John Gleason, a Colorado lawyer and chief of the Colorado Bar’s lawyer discipline unit.

The protestors appeared outside the Bar at about 3:00 p.m. Rick DeBruhl, the Bar’s Chief Communications Officer, spoke with them at length. He said that he explained the status of the matter, and that the State Bar no longer is the investigating body on the Thomas cases. He said that the protestors opted to continue protesting.

At one point, a bicyclist riding southbound on the sidewalk toward the protestors was forced into the roadway by one of the sign-holders, who extended his placard streetward in what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to drive the rider off the curb. The bicycle rider was able to regain the sidewalk after passing the protestors, but not before oncoming cars had to brake in order to avoid a collision.

At 4:20 p.m., the protestors disbanded and walked south.

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