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Police recommend charges for Sinema protesters at Arizona State University

The Democratic senator called the demonstration “not legitimate” and “unacceptable."


Police at Arizona State University are asking prosecutors to charge four people with misdemeanors after they protested Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema while she was on campus earlier this month. 

All four people are suspected of disorderly conduct and disruption of an educational institution, ASU police spokesperson Adam Wolfe told The Arizona Republic.

On Oct. 3, organizers with Living United For Change in Arizona, or LUCHA, an organization that played a key role in Sinema’s previous House and Senate race victories, protested outside the ASU classroom where she was teaching. They railed against her refusal to meet with constituents and her obstruction of two major spending bills that are critical to President Joe Biden’s agenda.

As the Arizona Democrat left the classroom, she walked past the LUCHA demonstrators and ducked into a bathroom, where the protest continued as she locked herself in a stall. 

In a statement afterward, Sinema called the protest “not legitimate” and “unacceptable,” and suggested the LUCHA members broke the law by entering a closed university building and disrupting its learning environment. She also claimed LUCHA members, who filmed the protest outside her stall, unlawfully posted footage “of both my students and I using the restroom.” 

Neither of the charges recommended by police are related to the state law that protects people from being surreptitiously recorded in the bathroom while “urinating, defecating, dressing, undressing, nude or involved in sexual intercourse.”

ASU police have not released the names of the suspects.

Sinema has largely avoided meeting with constituents or publicly outlining her wishes throughout negotiations over Biden’s proposals, except for saying she wants a social spending bill that’s cheaper than the one proposed by other members of her party. At the same time, she’s enjoyed multiple high-end fundraisers from corporate donors, roiling protesters like those in LUCHA, who have been crucial to her success. 

​​“Right now is a real moment that our people need in order to be able to talk about what’s really happening,” one LUCHA member said in a video clip of the ASU protest. 

“We knocked on doors for you to get you elected,” another member said. “And just how we got you elected, we can get you out of office if you don’t support what you promised us.”

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