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Arizona AG Brnovich Offers To Oversee Police Shooting, Use-Of-Force Investigations

By Ben Giles
Published: Thursday, June 4, 2020 - 9:00am
Updated: Thursday, June 4, 2020 - 9:04am

Mark Brnovich
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Mark Brnovich

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said his office is willing to provide oversight of investigations into police shootings and excessive use-of-force cases.

In a letter Wednesday to Gov. Doug Ducey and GOP legislative leaders, Brnovich wrote “it is imperative that we maintain public confidence” in those investigations.

To that end, Brnovich offered his office as an overseer of those investigations, an arrangement the attorney general said is used in states like New York and California.

In Arizona, that would require a change in state law.

Local law enforcement handles such investigations, and the Attorney General’s Office only gets involved when their help is requested from a local agency.

Brnovich stopped short of calling for a special session to change the law. Spokesman Ryan Anderson said the decision to call lawmakers back to the Capitol is up to the governor and legislators.

On Monday, House and Senate Democrats requested Ducey call a session to address a wide array of police reforms.

Anderson pointed to other reforms the attorney general proposed that don’t require legislation.

Brnovich wrote that de-escalation and cultural diversity training should be mandated for all law enforcement agencies in Arizona. Anderson said the Attorney General’s Office provides de-escalation training for its special agents.

“Although the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board offers training on these topics, they are not mandated,” Brnovich wrote. “The time has come to require all law enforcement agencies to have robust de-escalation training that is regularly administered.”

Brnovich also called for greater community outreach by law enforcement.

“This is something (Brnovich) feels very strongly about,” Anderson said of the reforms, “and as attorney general he has an opportunity to help channel frustration and pain into action. We’re prepared to join those working towards a solution.”

Calls for reform come amid ongoing protests, in Arizona and nationwide, against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. Four former Minneapolis police officers have now been charged in Floyd’s death, including a second-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin.

Video showed Chauvin, who is white, pinning his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd, who is black, was pronounced dead shortly after.

The other three officers face charges of aiding and abetting murder.