Yesterday at a press conference, where Arizona Governor Doug Ducey more or less incorrectly said all is well (please read Michael Bryan’s piece from June 4, 2020, for more details) with regards to the Coronavirus, the Grand Canyon State Chief Executive also expressed a willingness to listen to the concerns of citizens outraged by the police killings of people like George Floyd and Dion Johnson and possibly implement needed law enforcement reforms.
Governor Ducey’s words, reported by AZ Central included:
“What I’m hearing is that people are sickened by what happened, and I share that emotion and feeling as well. They (protesters) are asking for change and they’re asking for reform, and they’ve had enough of this.”
Mr. Ducey also relayed that after speaking with community and religious leaders (some of whom were both annoyed with his week-long curfew and did not want to hear him paying “lip service” to their concerns) on Sunday, he intended to keep “listening and learning” from their concerns and expressed a willingness to lead on law enforcement reforms such as diversifying the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board and police ranks.
Ducey further stated:
“But I want you to know that that list alone did not even scratch the surface of the deep hurt and concern inside that room… This (conversation) has got to be ongoing.”
That should be welcome news to the Democrats in the Arizona State Legislature, who following the lead of Democratic Whip Reginald Bolding issued a letter on June 2, 2020, calling for a special session dealing with law enforcement reform.
Among the areas Democrats want to consider in law enforcement reform are:
- Body camera requirements for all law enforcement officials.
- Third-party investigations of Use of Deadly Force Incidents.
- The creation of a statewide law enforcement personnel database.
- New training in areas like cultural sensitivity and de-escalation.
- Limit qualified immunity.
Please click below to read the full letter.
Legislative District 18 State Representative Mitzi Epstein also relayed, via a June 2, 2020, Facebook Post, that House Democrats have formed:
“..the Racial Justice Work Group to develop policies to address systemic racism in the entire justice system: police, courts, detention facilities, and further to work with diverse community advocates to stop racism and bigotry in our places of work, school, and other public gatherings.”
In a June 3, 2020 letter to her constituents, Legislative District 28 State Representative Kelli Butler wrote:
“But public safety reform is only the beginning. It’s time we also work to address the broad disparities in access to healthcare, education, housing, and other elements of our society that divide us and make it impossible for too many to achieve their dreams.”
The Governor wants to listen, learn, and implement law enforcement reform.
The Democrats want to listen, learn, and implement law enforcement reform.
Setting up a special session to consider law enforcement should not be hard.
The need, especially with the recent discovery, through Arizona Department of Transportation video, of additional footage of Dion Johnson in the minutes before he died (Representatives Bolding, Dr. Geraldine Peten, and Corporation Commission Commissioner Sandra Kennedy have called for a Federal Justice Department Investigation: Please see letter below,) is paramount.
Hopefully, it will not be on this and the other critical issues (schools, COVID 19 related matters) impacting all of the state’s residents.