Sheriff Penzone calls for unbiased analysis of use-of-force incidents
PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone on Tuesday said analysis of law enforcement’s use-of-force tactics should be based upon the merits and circumstances of the situation regardless of the racial backgrounds of those involved.
Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’S Gaydos & Chad that deploying use-of-force against minorities is currently “the most polarizing issue,” and therefore contributes to elevated attention from media outlets as opposed to use-of-force incidents against white individuals.
“I do think there is a heightened level of sensitivity when it comes to minority representation or overrepresentation when it comes to police violence or shootings,” Penzone said.
” … The truth is, the media is driven by what the community wants to consume.”
Penzone then claimed a July 5 officer-involved shooting that left 70-year-old Rodney Liveringhouse — a white man — dead after a confrontation with MCSO troopers received minimal media attention compared with incidents involving minorities.
“That is the reality of our space right now because we have these issues that, in many ways, are driven by race relations or race relation failures in law enforcement,” Penzone said.
It is those issues that cause minority-involved use-of-force incidents to receive heightened attention, according to Penzone.
“At the end of the day, if we truly want to see a world that is free of that type of bias, every circumstance should be evaluated the same — which is thoroughly, thoughtfully, in a just manner,” Penzone said.