MCSO’s Penzone warns political leaders about inciting election-related violence
PHOENIX – Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said political leaders will face legal consequences if they egg on violence in response to Tuesday’s elections.
“If you’re saying things that are untruthful and in your words you choose to try to incite violence or riots or things of that nature … then I’m going to hold you accountable no different than the person who’s out on the street throwing rocks or doing criminal things,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show.
A quick Election Day message from Sheriff Penzone#vote pic.twitter.com/z4t1GaIEcv
— Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (@mcsoaz) November 8, 2022
Penzone, a Democrat who is not up for reelection until 2024, said the issue is covered by several state statutes, including two felonies.
“If the words that you use are intent to promote violence … you yourself are part of that crime itself,” he said.
Penzone encouraged candidates and politicians to choose a more responsible response, regardless of how the elections turn out.
“If you truly want to be a leader, your words matter, choose the right words and inspire people to solutions, not to be divisive,” he said.
Penzone said he thinks some people use politics as an alibi for bad behavior, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
“The norm is that we’re better than this and we have the ability to rise to the occasion or fall to the vitriol,” he said.
“As a leader myself, I’m going to try to lead by example, and that is by being professional and ethical and having integrity and making sure that in our responsibilities that we are convicted and that we hold the line.”