Kyrsten Sinema intentionally dashed into a bathroom stall to avoid being questioned by activists: police report
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) assumed retreating to a bathroom would help her to avoid being confronted by activists. She soon realized their attempts were not a violation of the law.
According to The Arizona Mirror, Sinema was recently confronted by four unnamed activists but ignored them and dashed into a bathroom stall instead of heading to her car. In the police report written by Arizona State University Police Department Sgt. Katie Fuchtman, the centrist lawmaker claimed she "intentionally went into the bathroom because she believed that recording someone inside a bathroom is a crime."
Fuchtman wrote about Sinema's encounter. “Sinema stated this was not her first time being approached in this way," the police sergeant wrote, "and that is why she entered the bathroom, knowing it was illegal for someone to record another person inside the bathroom.”
Per Arizona law:
"Arizona law prohibits recording another person inside a bathroom, bedroom, locker room or another type of room where one has a reasonable expectation of privacy and the person is 'urinating, defecating, dressing, undressing, nude or involved in sexual intercourse or sexual contact.' Doing so is a felony."
Although the four activists have not been charged, AZ Central notes that the police report includes multiple offenses including "surreptitious videotaping, disorderly conduct, second-degree criminal trespassing, interfering with an educational institution and harassment, though it’s unclear whether police initially planned to recommend those charges."
The university police department has also recommended a number of misdemeanor charges such as disorderly conduct and disrupting of an educational institution.
Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), an immigration reform advocacy group, posted the video of activists' encounter with the Arizona lawmaker. In the video, activists followed Sinema from her classroom to the bathroom where she retreated to. “We knocked on doors for you to get you elected," said the woman filming the confrontation as Sinema headed inside of a bathroom stall. "And just how we got you elected, we can get you out of office if you don’t support what you promised us.”
While the activists are attempting to make a statement, immigration attorney Ruben Reyes has warned about the possibility of their efforts backfiring. Blanca, the self-identified woman who reportedly filmed the bathroom video, is said to be in the United States on a temporary deportation deferral and two-year working permit provided by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. That protection could be compromised if she is arrested in connection with this incident even if the case gets dismissed.
“One of the ways to quickly lose DACA is to get arrested for any crime,” said Reyes. “Even without a conviction, simply the arrest record… may complicate the renewal case for DACA. That would open you up to removal by the government.”
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