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KOLD Investigates: City of Tucson joins lawsuit challenging Arizona Legislature over law enforcement civilian review boards

Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 11:11 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - In a special meeting on Wednesday evening, Tucson Mayor and Council made a big move against the State of Arizona.

City Council voted unanimously to join two separate lawsuits challenging the Arizona Legislature.

One focuses on a ban against vaccine requirements, while the other focuses on police oversight boards.

“The state law is completely unnecessary and intentionally burdensome,” Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said in the special meeting.

Romero is opposed to the amendment made to House Bill 2893, which changes the qualifications for members of civilian review boards, like the City of Tucson’s Police Advisory Review Board.

That board is composed of civilian appointees who volunteer their time to oversee allegations of law-enforcement misconduct.

“The Tucson Police Department already provides training and technical support to civilians on the Citizen Police Advisory Review Board and other review boards,” Romero said.

The amendment to House Bill 2893, requires civilians to receive 80 hours of police training in areas like use-of-force, de-escalation, body-worn cameras, in-custody deaths, criminal and administrative investigations and representative due process as well as simulated event law enforcement training.

“It creates a false sense of division between our officers and the public. When in reality, at the Tucson Police Department, we actively seek community input to improve the outcomes of law enforcement and the public alike,” Romero said.

According to communication between the city attorney and mayor and council, the “Arizona’s Constitution explicitly and repeatedly prohibits the Arizona Legislature from engaging in the practice of lumping multiple subjects in the same bill....the Arizona Legislature refuses to comply with its constitutional mandates. This past legislative session, the Legislature enacted several Budget Reconciliation Bills that lump multiple subjects into a bill that contains appropriations.”

Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin said a lawsuit brought separately by the City of Phoenix is already under way and is on a fast track.

With Wednesday’s unanimous vote, Rankin said he will move forward with participating as amicus in the pending litigation.

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