PHOENIX — Outside the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office headquarters, multiple community and political groups held a press conference to announce their joint intention to recall top prosecutor Allister Adel if she doesn’t resign.
The “Resign or Be Recalled’ campaign against Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel is being spearheaded by Mass Liberation AZ, a criminal justice reform and activist group.
The group is also being backed by several other progressive communities and political organizations in addition to some state lawmakers.
“Adel has lost the trust and confidence of the people she represents,” said Ne’Lexia Galloway, executive director of the Maricopa County Democratic Party. “Charging peaceful protesters highlights her need to resign.”
The calls for Adel’s removal have grown throughout the year as an ABC15 investigation continued to expose her office’s role in colluding with Phoenix police to falsely charge dozens of protesters.
In the most notorious example, officers and prosecutors invented a gang and claimed protesters were members. Adel has declined to answer questions about what and when she knew about the scheme.
In addition to the protest scandal, Adel also secretly checked herself into an out-of-state rehab facility earlier this month.
The county attorney said she continued to work while at the California facility to treat anxiety, stress, alcohol use, and an eating disorder.
Her absence wasn’t disclosed until other county officials learned about the situation and gave her an ultimatum to inform the public.
“She failed to notify the public about her mental health struggles. She was forced to come forward. So not only was she not transparent about the charges that she brought against protesters last summer. She was not transparent about the issues that she faced as the county attorney,” Galloway said.
Organizers told ABC15 they plan to officially begin collecting signatures to force a recall in the coming weeks.
They will need to collect more than 400,000 signatures.
The following groups and leaders joined the press conference to show their support for Mass Liberation AZ’s campaign: Maricopa County Democratic Party; Rep. Diego Rodriguez; Working Families Party; Tomorrow We Vote; Planned Parenthood; AZ Poder / Poder In Action; AZ Wins; Progress AZ; and Sen. Martin Quezada.
Rep. Rodriguez also spoke and specifically called out Adel for her interview with ABC15 last week.
The county attorney asked ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing if he would be willing to work with her office to help educate people on how to “protest peacefully.”
Critics have expressed shock at the request.
“We have a county attorney when she was recently interviewed, who completely refused to accept or acknowledge what her office had done,” Rodriquez said.
Adel did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In response to previous calls for her to step down, the County Attorney said she has no intention of leaving the job.
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at Dave@ABC15.com.