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Law Enforcement's & Maricopa County Attorney's Response to Neo-Nazi Activities & Alleged Crimes

ACTION ALERT | PRESS RELEASE

EAST VALLEY (1008-B) & WEST VALLEY (11AB-B) NAACPs QUESTION LAW ENFORCEMENT’s RESPONSE TO PLANNED NEO-NAZI ACTIVITIES & ALLEGED CRIMES, AND MARICOPA COUNTY ATTORNEY’s SWIFT DISMISSAL OF AGGRAVATED ASSAULT CHARGES

May 2, 2021

CHANDLER, ARIZONA (May 2, 2021) - Last month, Phoenix hosted the national convention of one of the oldest Neo-Nazi hate groups in the United States, the National Socialist Movement (NSM). Officially designated as an Extremist Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, these swastika-wearing, shield-wielding white supremacists freely roamed the streets and parks of Phoenix harassing Black Americans.

Two days later in Chandler, their leader, Burt Colucci, “pointed his loaded semi-automatic handgun at one of the [Black] men and threatened to kill them all,” according to witness accounts in police records. The gunman “also told Reuters he wanted white people to ‘stand up for themselves’ by, for example, feeling free to shoot Black people who made them feel unsafe in public places.”

These alleged acts of domestic terrorism are horrific and intolerable, and totally unsurprising since the NSM’s “platform calls for an all-white ‘greater America’ that would deny citizenship and virtually all legal protection to non-whites, Jews and the LGBTQ population.” Members of their organization participated in the 2017 Charlottesville riots which left “3 people dead and at least 33 injured” after "white nationalists holding lit tiki torches marched through the campus of the University of Virginia”, and a man plowed his car through a crowd of peaceful protestors. “Last year, one of its members was killed in a shootout with authorities in Missouri and was planning to set off bombs in a hospital.”

Residents and visitors of Maricopa County deserve to be safe, and taxpayers deserve accountability and transparency from their elected officials and law enforcement. Therefore, the East Valley - Arizona and West Valley NAACPs are calling upon Maricopa County Attorney (MCA) Allister Adel and local law enforcement to answer the following questions:

* How many participants of the unpermitted, unpeaceful protest were arrested?

* How many members of the Extremist Hate Group were charged with hate crimes?

* How many were charged as a gang?

* Why was Burt Colucci’s bond set to a mere $7,500, and why was he permitted to leave Arizona?

* What charges brought against these people, if any, have not yet been dismissed?

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office and law enforcement should protect and serve the entire community, not embolden violent extremists who encourage people to “feel free to shoot Black people” by shielding them from prosecution. The East Valley NAACP urges MCA Allister Adel and members of local law enforcement to respond expeditiously to these questions for the safety & mental well-being of Arizona families & communities.

Stay Safe & Be Well,

Kiana. M. Sears, President, East Valley NAACP - Arizona (1008-B)

Bishop Anthony Holt, President, West Valley NAACP - Arizona (11AB-B)

Scottsdale Ordinance 4497

ISSUE UPDATE | OPEN LETTER

EAST VALLEY NAACP - ARIZONA (1008-B) SUPPORTS SCOTTSDALE NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE NO. 4497

April 19, 2021

MESA, ARIZONA (April 19, 2021) - On April 12, 2021, during the “Human Relations Commission meeting, the commission voted unanimously to forward this recommendation to the [Scottsdale] City Council: Adopt the proposed Anti‐Discrimination Ordinance which includes race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability as protected classes.”

Adoption of this non-discrimination ordinance would be a victory for Civil Rights. The East Valley NAACP - Arizona strongly supports Equal Protection Under the Law, and we urge the Scottsdale City Council to enact Scottsdale Ordinance No. 4497. “We believe the same protections that we worked so hard to administer for 111 years must be extended to all Americans, especially those who have endured discrimination, hate crimes, and profiling” (NAACP Washington Bureau).

We call upon the residents, workers, and visitors of Scottsdale, and every one with loved ones in Scottsdale, to let their voices be heard in support of equality. Contact Mayor David C. Ortega, Vice Mayor Betty Janik, and Councilmembers Tammy Caputi, Tom Durham, Kathy Littlefield, Linda Milhaven, and Solange Whitehead and insist they vote in favor of Scottsdale Ordinance No. 4497. All Councilmembers’ contact information is available at https://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/council

The East Valley NAACP - Arizona will continue to work in support of laws and ordinances which will bring our City another step closer to ending all forms of discrimination so that all Americans can enjoy the freedoms and protections guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution.

Thank you,

Kiana. M. Sears, President
East Valley NAACP - Arizona (1008-B)

DC Statehood

ACTION ALERT | ISSUE UPDATE

EAST VALLEY - ARIZONA (1008-B) NAACP URGES SENATORS KYRSTEN SINEMA AND MARK KELLY TO COSPONSOR S.51, THE D.C. ADMISSION ACT

April 13, 2021

MESA, ARIZONA (April 13, 2021) - The East Valley NAACP - Arizona (1008-B) urges Arizona Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly to stand up for democracy and oppose taxation without representation by cosponsoring S.51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act.

“Despite the fact that the citizens of Washington, D.C. pay federal taxes, serve on juries and defend our Nation in times of war like most other Americans, the residents of the District of Columbia are barred from having voting representation on the floor of the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. This classic example of ‘taxation without representation’ is contrary to everything that this nation is founded on” (NAACP).

The East Valley NAACP - Arizona (1008-B) stands in solidarity with Washingtonians, and reiterates NAACP President & CEO, Derrick Johnson’s statement supporting D.C. statehood:

 “For over two centuries, Washington D.C.’s lack of statehood has been rooted in white supremacy. When Black men gained the right to vote in 1867, Congress replaced the local, elected government with three white men commissioners. Since then, opposition to statehood has been driven by false dog-whistle arguments on the city’s ability to manage its own affairs.”

“Earlier this year, white supremacists holding Confederate flags and wearing Nazi slogans were left to roam free in our nation’s capital without protection for the majority of Washingtonians who are Black and Brown, all because D.C. is not a state.”

It’s time for Arizona’s senators to prioritize making D.C. a state and end the oppression of Washingtonians of color by co-sponsoring S.51. We ask Arizonans to contact Senators Sinema and Kelly at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to cosponsor S.51, the D.C. Admission Act.

Stay Safe & Be Well,

 

Kiana. M. Sears, President
East Valley NAACP - Arizona (1008-B)

Mesa Ordinance 5609

ACTION ALERT | PRESS RELEASE

EAST VALLEY NAACP - ARIZONA (1008-B) SUPPORTS MESA NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE NO. 5609; CONDEMNS ATTACKS ON CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECTIONS

April 6, 2021

MESA, ARIZONA (April 6, 2021) - On March 1, 2021, after more than 7 years of discussions, the Mesa City Council voted 5-2 to adopt Ordinance No. 5609 “prohibiting discrimination in public accommodation, employment, and housing on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, veteran's status, marital status, and familial status and establishing penalties for violations thereof.”

The adoption of this non-discrimination ordinance is a victory for Civil Rights. Sadly, for every step forward People of Color make towards equality, there is a “Group Announcing it will
Attempt to Strike Down” our progress. They ignore the fact that “The Supreme Court has made clear that ‘dislike’ or ‘discomfort’ with a group ‘is not a legitimate justification for discrimination,’ and the Equal Protection Clause prohibits discrimination against one group in order to accommodate the prejudices and discomfort of another” (NAACP Legal Defense Fund - LDF).

The East Valley NAACP - Arizona urges the residents, workers, and visitors of Mesa, and every one with loved ones in Mesa, to ensure Ordinance No. 5609 is codified. Do not allow the voices of bigotry to be louder than the voices of justice.

We urge you to thank Mayor John Giles and Councilmembers Jenn Duff, Francisco Heredia, David Luna, and Julie Spilsbury for agreeing that People of Color living, working, and traveling in Mesa are worthy of protections against discrimination, and condemn votes protecting discrimination cast by Councilmembers Mark Freeman and Kevin Thompson. All Councilmembers’ contact information is available at https://www.mesaaz.gov/government/mayor-council.

The East Valley NAACP - Arizona will continue to work in support of laws and ordinances which will bring our City another step closer to ending all forms of discrimination so that all Americans can enjoy the freedoms and protections guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution.

Thank you,

 

Kiana. M. Sears, President
East Valley NAACP - Arizona (1008-B)

Arizona House Bill 2309

ISSUE UPDATE | PRESS RELEASE

EAST VALLEY (1008-B), WEST VALLEY (11AB-B), AND MARICOPA COUNTY BRANCH-NAACPs
CONDEMN AGGRESSIVE ASSAULTS ON FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS OF ARIZONA HOUSE BILL 2309

March 30, 2021

MESA, ARIZONA (March 30, 2021) - The East Valley (1008-B), West Valley (11AB-B), and Maricopa County Branch-NAACPs, stand in complete solidarity with all Arizonans exercising their right to demonstrate in whatever constitutionally-protected manner their consciences dictate. We condemn the anti-American, anti-democratic H.B. 2309 which attempts to criminalize the exercise of free speech and peaceful assembly. Arizonans have the same inalienable rights as all American citizens, including those guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

H.B. 2309 would empower police officers to cancel the First Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens if even one person at a demonstration of thousands allegedly engages in an unlawful act. By declaring the demonstration a “violent or disorderly assembly,” police could charge everyone present with a crime—including those who did not engage in a crime, nor even know the individual allegedly engaging in the crime. 

This unconscionable, audacious attack on democracy is an egregious abuse of power which comes as ABC15’s “Politically Charged" series continues uncovering evidence of collusion between members of local law enforcement and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to politically prosecute and imprison Black Lives Matter activists. These “repeated allegations of discriminatory arrests and political prosecutions in protest cases” include “police and prosecutors presenting grand jurors with dubious claims, one-sided evidence, exaggerations, and lies,” “creating fictional gangs,” and charging a bystander as a member of a “street gang.”

H.B. 2309 would expand the power of the same police who traded "Challenge coins" engraved with "a slogan used by neo-fascist hate groups to promote violence” which commemorated law enforcement shooting a Black Lives Matter activist in the groin with a non-lethal projectile. It would embolden the same police who, when speaking about Black Lives Matter activists stated, “Gas em. I don’t give a sh** if we just gas them and let them run like crazy…(inaudible) the sh** out of them, who gives a sh**?”

This disturbing, disgusting attempt to imprison Arizonans who peacefully protest the wholly disproportionate incidences of police brutality and racial injustice towards People of Color is abhorrent. We are calling upon Arizonans to stand in defiance to these attacks on civil rights, and contact their Arizona senators and Governor Ducey to demand that these assaults on free speech and peaceful assembly stop immediately. They must unequivocally reject H.B. 2309.

Thank you.

Kiana. M. Sears, President, East Valley NAACP - Arizona (1008-B)

Bishop Anthony Holt, President, West Valley NAACP - Arizona (11AB-B)
Princess Lucas-Wilson, Criminal Justice Committee Chair, Maricopa County Branch-NAACP

Solidarity with the Asian Community

NEWS

CIVIL RIGHTS AND RACIAL JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS DENOUNCE ABHORRENT RISE IN ANTI-ASIAN HATE CRIMES

March 18, 2021

The East Valley NAACP - Arizona wholly supports and stands in solidarity with NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson’s statement on the Atlanta Shooting on March 16, 2021: “Our hearts are shattered tonight. The horrifying shooting that took place in Atlanta this evening is a disgusting and disturbing example of how the spread of domestic terrorism has been allowed to torment communities. These acts are the visible manifestation of hateful words birthing hateful acts. An attack on one is an attack on all. We condemn this in the strongest possible terms.

I am not only disgusted and angry, but I grieve for their parents, children, their partners, their nieces and nephews, their grandparents, and their entire communities. Yes, I am a very proud Black woman. I also LOVE and serve all People of Color and all members of the human race. I am not a stranger to the racist thoughts and actions that go unchecked every day that lead to the evil, racially-motivated ideas which lead to the murder of Six Asian Women... Women who were builders of the community, professionals, educators, business owners, and beloved mothers, wives, sisters, nieces, and grandmothers. I stand with my Asian Family & Dear friends , Our Mesa Asian District, the Arizona Asian Chamber, and entire Asian community .

For more information on the work the NAACP is doing to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons, please visit: https://naacp.org/issues/

Thoughts and Prayers,

Kiana. M. Sears 
President, East Valley NAACP - Arizona (1008-B)

EARLIER WORK

View highlights of our earlier work in our News Archives and the 2019 Freedom Fund.

NAACP Game Changers

The NAACP works for Systemic Change. In alignment with the NAACP Strategic Plan the East Valley NAACP focuses our efforts on the Game Changers for the 21st Century. Creating a powerful vision for the future, this strategic direction sets our advocacy agenda.

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