Mesa, AZ – East Valley NAACP President Roy Tatem issued the following statement regarding Senate Bill 1253 currently under consideration by the Arizona State House of Representatives:
“In recent years, East Valley NAACP and other community organizations have worked tirelessly to build relationships of trust and respect with local law enforcement. Today, our work is in danger. The Arizona legislature’s SB 1253 potentially compromises the investigation of police-involved shootings and incidents, in direct contrast to our work toward creating a safer and more equitable community with everyone in mind.
With the removal of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the residents of Arizona’s largest county issued a message that is loud and clear: We want law enforcement to play by the rules. That means no more racial profiling, conspiracies and murky tactics designed to obscure truth and fairness. The Arizona legislature must meet this standard.
During the current period of consideration, we are calling upon Speaker of the House J.D. Mesnard to act with the moral clarity necessary to kill this problematic legislation. This bill not only endangers the process of seeking justice, it also endangers the safety of law enforcement officers who depend on positive relationships within the communities they serve. Speaker Mesnard must send a clear message to all of Arizona: police who are involved in shootings and injuries will play by the same rules of investigation and fact-finding as everyone else. SB 1253 promotes police cover-ups and manipulation, and this is not the justice that Arizonans deserve.
A number of problematic bills are on the current legislative agenda, and East Valley NAACP will continue to stand strong on the front lines for voting rights, criminal justice reform, consumer protection and equality for all. Depending on Speaker Mesnard’s commitment to fairness and justice, we will act as either an ally or unapologetic adversary.
Our community’s strength lies in our ability to work together. Speaker Mesnard, our own representative right here in the East Valley, is well known for his degree in music education and commitment to the arts. We call on him to maintain the hard-won harmonious relationship between police and everyday people by blocking SB 1253 in Arizona.”