TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Mayor Regina Romero has explained why she asked to revoke the permit for a group that wanted to paint a thin blue line on Stone Avenue in front on Tucson Police Department headquarters.
“I am simply taking a stand against an individual that has explicitly made racist, white supremacist statements on social media,” Romero said Friday, one day after the permit was made public.
The permit to allow the painting of the street was initially approved, but was later denied after a request by Romero.
“I received information from a credible source, someone who works in the city, letting my office know there was a very, very concerning situation that was happening,” she said.
She released two Facebook posts which are obviously racist.
They came, according to the office, from the Facebook page of Timothy Cesolini, a member of a group called Tucson Back the Blue.
According to the Mayor’s office, the posts have since been taken down.
Cesolini told KOLD News 13 the sole purpose of Saturday’s event was to support the Tucson Police Department.
But the Mayor says “he is trying to sew division in our community.”
“There is nothing on my page that is not a Republican point of view,” Cesolini said.
The request for the permit came from the Ward 4 office of councilwoman Nikki Lee.
“We did initial research of the organization and it checked out,” she said. “We forwarded the constituency request because it was not in our wheelhouse to approve or deny permits.”
Lee said the request was routine, something the ward office deals with on a daily basis.
“I really didn’t think it would be taken in this context,” Lee said. “We were doing what we do everyday, taking a constituent request and get it to the right people in the city.”
Romero said she supports the police and can’t understand how the permit became about her.
“It has nothing to do with my support of the police or not,” she said.
Her goal, she said, was to prohibit the use of public property by a white supremacist.
“I have the responsibility to stand up and say this is not happening on my watch,” Romero said.
Despite Cesolini’s denials, Romero believes she’s reading it right.
“I have seen very, very clear messages from his Facebook page that clearly shows his true colors,” Mayor Romero said.