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N4T Investigators: Protest push follow up

TUCSON (KVOA) - The Tucson Police Officer's Association has called for city leaders to take action against Tucson City Councilwoman Lane Santa Cruz following a News 4 Tucson Investigator's report

In an email to Mayor Regina Romero and the City Council, TPOA's president Tony Archibald has cited our investigation, which uncovered bodycam footage of Santa Cruz cursing at officers. Our investigation also uncovered an altercation where an officer pushed Santa Cruz after she can be seen touching his baton. 

The letter sent to city leaders on Aug. 21 is listed below.

Archibald told the News 4 Tucson Investigators that he does not expect city leaders to fine or remove the councilwoman. However, he does want them to acknowledge that her behavior was unacceptable for a city official.

"What I'm asking the other council members to do is to evaluate the council member's behavior at this rally and her subsequent behavior and how she's addressed the men and women of the Tucson Police Department," Archibald said.

News 4 Tucson Investigators reached out to Santa Cruz's office twice by email and once by phone for her reaction to TPOA's request. Despite these attempts, we never received a response.

We asked the Mayor's Office by email if she will or will not support taking action against Santa Cruz.

A spokesperson for the mayor replied, "The mayor has no comment on this matter at this time."

News 4 Tucson Investigators also asked Tucson City Council members that same question.

"I said at the time that I thought council members should avoid the area and not escalate. TPD had a hard enough job to do protecting the businesses downtown, and adding fuel to that wasn't helpful. Right now, what the community needs is to de-escalate. If we're going to unite and move forward, all the toxic rhetoric needs to stop," Councilman Steve Koazchik said. "I believe if we're seeing leadership come from the top, it should be in the form of bringing people together, not continuing down the road of division and name-calling."

"Thank you for your email. The TPOA letter and your interview invitation came in after business hours on Friday and I have a lot of questions that I need to have answered before I can make an informed statement - which I could not get answered over the weekend - including questions about the Code of Ethics and questions for the City Attorney." Councilwoman Nikki Lee said. "I won’t have the information I need to make an informed statement by COB today, so I will not be able to make your deadline today for an interview."

The offices of Council Members Paul Durham, Richard Fimbres and Paul Cunningham did not issue a statement or comment by the time of publication. However, Cunnigham later reached out to the News 4 Tucson Investigators and issued a statement.

"I am not supportive of any type of censure for Council Member Santa Cruz at this time," Cunningham said.

For now, it is unclear how city leaders will move forward in addressing TPOA's demands. But our News 4 Tucson Investigators will continue to follow this story and bring you the details as they unfold.

If you have a story you'd like for us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call or tip line at 520-955-4444.

Alexis Berdine

Alexis Berdine is an Investigative Multi-Media Journalist at KVOA.

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