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Arizona Attorney General calling for systematic changes in law enforcement community

Former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich
Posted at 6:23 PM, Jun 04, 2020

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said he watched in horror the pictures of George Floyd being killed by a Minneapolis Police officer.

"When you see what's happened to George Floyd," Brnovich said. "Where you have state-sanctioned violence, you can't help but make you question, all of us question, what is going on in our justice system."

Brnovich is calling for systematic changes in the training and oversight of Arizona's Law Enforcement Community. In a letter sent Wednesday to Governor Doug Ducey, Senate President Karen Fann and House Speaker Rusty Bowers, the Attorney General calling for mandatory de-escalation and racial sensitivity training, and volunteering to provide third party oversight of police shootings and brutality investigations in Arizona.

The attorney general often says the relationships between police and local prosecutors is close, even personal. Having someone who is one step removed, Brnovich believes will, "instill confidence in people and make sure there is still transparency."

The Attorney General would not speculate as to what cases he believed were subject to review, if he had the authority. But the death of Dion Johnson last month might fit the profile. Johnson was shot by a DPS trooper.

The circumstances are under investigation, but the incident is not lost on Phoenix demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd. "There is a lot of frustration and anger and I appreciate that, people have a right to know," Brnovich said

Brnovich says his plan to improve confidence in the Justice System also includes a public relations campaign he calls 'Know Your Rights." While the Attorney General is elected, he is not a policymaker, so it will be up to the legislature and the governor to act on his proposals. "What I don't want to see happen, and I worry about is," Brnovich says, "In the past, when there's been a tragic killing or something happens we form a committee. We get a bunch of elected officials who talk about this, that and the other thing and nothing changes." That's why Brnovich said he made the proposals he made. "It's gone on long enough. It's time for positive change to the system."