Two people involved in a skirmish at a Black Lives Matter protest could have criminal charges against them dropped if they complete a court-ordered program aimed at teaching people how to behave and make better choices.
Don James Fruhwirth and Cathy Tashman are enrolled in diversion programs as a result of their actions last September at a protest in Sierra Vista, at State Routes 90 and 92.
Fruhwirth had been hired as security for the BLM protesters and Tashman was at a counter protest across the street organized by Concerned Citizens of Cochise County.
Tashman left her group and went over to the BLM protesters and began mocking them by laughing and waving her arms. Fruhwirth zapped Tashman in the face twice with pepper spray. The brouhaha was captured on video.
Tashman was charged with obstruction of traffic because she initially parked her sport utility vehicle on Highway 92 as other motorists were attempting to travel through, Sierra Vista Police said. Fruhwirth was charged with two counts of assault. The charges for both individuals are misdemeanors.
Fruhwirth and Tashman are going through a diversion program, said Cochise County assistant prosecutor Rachel Raynes.
According to Arizona law, the main purpose of a misdemeanor diversion program is to help a first-time offender understand the consequences of their actions. This helps them learn how to make better choices while making amends to their victims. There are multiple benefits to diversion programs, including a dismissal of a conviction and no permanent criminal record.
Video shows Fruhwirth and others racing to Tashman’s vehicle and stopping at the passenger-side window. Fruhwirth and another man assigned to the security detail yelled at Tashman to leave. Then they told her she was “under arrest.”
Tashman got out of her car and began waving her arms and laughing. At one point, she advanced toward Fruhwirth and that’s when he sprayed her the first time. Tashman started waving her arms and she went toward Fruhwirth again, her right arm swatting at him. It’s unclear whether she hit him because it’s not shown in the video. Fruhwirth is then seen delivering a second blast of the spray into Tashman’s face.
“We can say both individuals are going through diversion programs, and if successful, the cases will be dismissed,” Raynes said in an email.