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Senator Kyrsten Sinema responds to weekend activist incident at Arizona State University

Kyrsten Sinema
Posted at 9:04 AM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-04 22:29:45-04

PHOENIX — Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema said an incident involving a community activist group over the weekend was “unacceptable.”

“Yesterday, several individuals disrupted my class at Arizona State University. After deceptively entering a locked, secure building, these individuals filmed and publicly posted videos of my students without their permission -- including footage taken of both my students and I using a restroom,” Sen. Sinema said in a press release Monday morning. 

Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) posted video on Twitter Sunday morning, showing group activists following Sinema and others into an ASU restroom.

LUCHA posted again saying, "We wouldn't have to resort to confronting (Sinema) around [Phoenix] if she took meetings with the communities that elected her. She's been completely inaccessible. We're sick of the political games, stop playing with our lives."

Senator Kyrsten Sinema responds to weekend activist incident at Arizona State University

Sinema said, "The activist group that engaged in yesterday's behavior is one that both my team and I have met with several times since I was elected to the Senate, and I will continue engaging with Arizonans with diverse viewpoints to help inform my work for Arizona. Yesterday's behavior was not legitimate protest. It is unacceptable for activist organizations to instruct their members to jeopardize themselves by engaging in unlawful activities such as gaining entry to closed university buildings, disrupting learning environments, and filming students in a restroom."

The incident has raised questions about the protestors and if their behavior was legal.

Benjamin Taylor, a local attorney, told ABC15 protesting in public places is allowed but filming in the bathroom is not.

Under Arizona law, a person cannot be recorded in places where there is an expectation of privacy without their consent. The law specifically mentions bathrooms, locker rooms and bedrooms.

Still, Taylor said it may be difficult for officials to press charges.

"Ultimately, it'll be up to Sen. Sinema, ASU and the prosecutor whether or not they feel like the protestors violated the law," he said.

According to Taylor, even though recording in the bathroom is illegal, activists did not go into the stall.

"So someone could argue that because they didn't go into the stall, they weren't trying to harass her," he said.

Still, ASU police are investigating the situation. They sent ABC15 the following statement:

"The ASU Police Department is working with Senator Sinema and conducting a full investigation of the incident that occurred Sunday at the University Center on the Downtown Phoenix campus. Due to the active status of the investigation, we are unable to provide more information at this time."

When asked, a spokesperson for Sinema said she was not available for an interview because she was flying back to Washington D.C.