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Arizona bill aimed at unrest called scare tactic by community organizers

(KTAR News/Tyler Bassett)

PHOENIX – A new Arizona bill that seeks harsher punishment for rioters is being described as a scare tactic by community organizers.

Introduced by Republican state Rep. Bret Roberts, HB 2309 seeks stricter penalties for those who participate in “unlawful and violent actions during rioting,” according to a press release.

The bill comes after weeks of unrest last summer over the killings of George Floyd and Dion Johnson where protesters called for an end to police violence and racial inequality.

However, Bruce Frank Jr. with Mass Liberation Arizona told KTAR News 92.3 FM Thursday that the bill misses the real issue and is truly meant to “further target and prosecute protestors of police violence.”

He added bills like HB2309 should not be tolerated.

“You can’t rebuttal uprising and what’s going on with problematic bills that speak to intimidation and silencing of those who speak up and speak out. And that’s exactly what 2309 is… it’s rhetoric,” Frank Jr. said.

In the press release, Roberts said he introduced the bill in an “effort to keep our communities safe,” yet Frank Jr. claims it’s activists who suffer violence at the hand of police, not the other way around.

Instead, Frank Jr. believes police departments should be defunded and that money be used toward community programs to help solve the root of the issues.

“That’s how we cut down on the harm that’s been caused in our community by the system that created the harm in the first place,” he said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM reached out to Representative Roberts for comment but received no response.

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