Think Tank discusses political prosecutions in Maricopa County
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday the launch of a wide-ranging Justice Department civil rights investigation into the “patterns and practices” of the Phoenix Police Department, including possible “retaliation” against “nonviolent political protesters.”
This week’s Think Tank could hardly be more timely. Last week we discussed the political prosecution of protesters against government repression in Cuba.
It’s easy to be smug when it is somebody and someone somewhere else. We see ourselves as the “good guys” and any communist regime as “evil.” But recent reports have made it clear that our hands here in Phoenix, Arizona are not entirely clean in the area of political prosecutions.
Nonviolent protests against police behavior in Phoenix have been met with widespread arrests. Worse yet, there has been complicity in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to prosecute as felonies completely fabricated accounts of crimes committed by those whose “crime” seems to have been to object to police behavior.
Only when faced with multiple videos, which clearly demonstrated that these charges were completely fabricated, did the County Attorney’s office drop these charges. Many of these were uncovered by ABC 15 reporter Dave Biscobing and reported in his series “Politically Charged.”
Biscobing is one of our guests this week, along with Arizona Mirror reporter Laura Gomez, who has also reported extensively in this area.
The number of officials involved suggests that these arrests were not the result of a couple of rogue officers but rather reflected a coordinated effort by Phoenix police and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
This leaves open the question of how many innocent people, who were not fortunate enough to be videotaped, may have been subject to criminal prosecution based on manufactured evidence.
The Think Tank airs on KTAR 92.3 FM on Saturday 6-7 p.m. and Sunday 9-10 p.m.
Podcasts are available after broadcast.