Tucson mayoral candidate challenges others after ‘orchestrated removal’ of campaign signs

Regina Romero answers call to condemn thefts

Tucson candidate challenges others after ‘orchestrated removal’ of campaign signs

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The man fighting to become Tucson’s mayor is challenging other candidates to speak out against anyone who may be removing campaign signs after several of his seemed to disappear.

This comes after KOLD News 13 shared videos of a man picking up several signs and appearing to walk off with them at the intersection of Speedway Boulevard and Craycroft. In the video sent to KOLD News 13 by a viewer, you can see a sign for Ed Ackerley in the man’s arms.

Ackerley, an Independent, is facing Democrat Regina Romero on the November ballot.

KOLD News 13 first reported the story Thursday night when Ackerley said he received the same videos and reported the incident to police.

“It’s egregious, it’s not right, it’s immoral. It goes against commercial free speech," Ackerley told KOLD News 13 Thursday evening.

Ed Ackerley news conference

WATCH: Tucson mayoral candidate Ed Ackerley is hosting a news conference after some of his campaign signs were allegedly stolen >> https://tucsonne.ws/2pEn4L9

Posted by KOLD News 13 on Friday, October 4, 2019

Friday morning, Ackerley held a news conference regarding the “recent revelation of orchestrated removal of signs." You can watch the news conference HERE.

[ CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Man walks off with campaign signs on Tucson’s streets ]

“Today, I challenge all individual candidates, the other campaigns and all political parities to condemn the unlawful removal of signs and the silencing of political free speech,” Ackerley said.

The city clerk’s office confirmed a complaint was made Thursday morning, however the office does not investigate sign removal or theft. A spokesperson with the Tucson Police Department confirmed a report was taken Thursday afternoon about the alleged sign theft.

“A formal incident report was filed and the case was referred to detectives for investigation,” Ackerley said.

It is a class 2 misdemeanor to remove, alter or cover any political sign of any candidate or ballot measure.

Ackerley said Friday his campaign “will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”

KOLD News 13 reached out to the Regina Romero campaign following Ackerley’s press conference on Friday. A spokesperson released this statement on her behalf:

“As a candidate who has run for office three times before, I am all too familiar with sign theft, and have had several signs defaced or taken down during this election cycle. I condemn these actions and encourage all in our community to respect the democratic process.”

“If a campaign or a candidate remains silent on this issue, they are complicit in condoning this behavior. The are in effect, encouraging and endorsing the removing of signs and silencing of political free speech,” Ackerley said.

Ackerley is asking anyone who may recognize the man in the video to call 88-CRIME or report it to the TPD.

The general election is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Copyright 2019 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.