Arizona Senate votes to open ethics investigation over Wendy Rogers’ post on Buffalo shooting
PHOENIX — The Arizona Senate on Monday voted to open an ethics investigation over Wendy Rogers’ social media post regarding the shooting in Buffalo over the weekend that left 10 dead.
Rogers posted “Fed boy summer has started in Buffalo” to far-right social media site Gab on Saturday.
Authorities have said the attack was “racially motivated violent extremism,” but Rogers’ post had some of her colleagues believing it implied a false flag operation, meaning the attack was put on by the federal government.
The motion, brought forth by Senate Majority Leader Rick Gray, passed 24-3, with Rogers and fellow Sens. Warren Petersen and Kelly Townsend voting “no.”
Rogers, who represents portions of northern Arizona, said on Twitter on Monday before the vote she condemned the violence.
“Let me be very clear: I do not condone violent crime or racism,” Rogers said in a statement after the vote. “My heart breaks for those who lost their lives as well as for their families in this weekend’s shooting in Buffalo, New York.
“I pray justice is brought to the perpetrator. The person responsible for this heinous crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I denounce this tragic act as well as any and all other violent crimes that are spreading into communities across our country.”
She added that her comment was taken out of context and has become a false narrative created by “certain race-obsessed members of the media.”
Rogers said the Democrat members of the Senate are turning her comment into a political tool and “continuing to perpetuate this erroneous message” in an effort to foment division within the Republican party.
The attack came after a white 18-year-old man wearing military gear and livestreaming with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket in Buffalo.
Police said he shot 11 Black and two white victims before surrendering to authorities in a rampage he broadcast live on the streaming platform Twitch.
Arizona Senate Republicans on Monday before the vote said they denounced the attack.
“We condemn any and all hate speech that has served as inspiration for these kinds of heinous crimes,” Senate Republicans said in a statement.
“Words have consequences and while we believe in our First Amendment rights of free speech, we denounce any and all extremist rhetoric that has fueled these horrendous acts.”
It’s not the first time the freshman senator has come under the microscope for her rhetoric.
Rogers in March became the first Arizona lawmaker in decades to be censured after she embraced white nationalist leaders and promoted violence.
In May 2021, the Arizona Senate’s Ethics Committee dismissed a complaint against Rogers, who was accused by her former assistant of berating and cursing him during a tirade, making comment about his weight, asking him to do political work and to work while he was out sick recovering from COVID.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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