It is time for us to come together to make body-worn camera deployment a reality across Arizona. As County Attorney, this is my top priority and I am calling on the leadership at the Arizona State Legislature to take action this upcoming legislative session.
Earlier this week, I announced the charging decision in the death of Dion Johnson, which occurred on May 25, 2020. Mr. Johnson was shot and killed by an Arizona Department of Public Safety Trooper when the trooper attempted to arrest Mr. Johnson and a fight ensued.
While evidence and testimony in this case did not warrant criminal charges against the trooper, I write to you today because neither the trooper who shot Mr. Johnson, nor the back-up trooper who arrived on scene were equipped with body-worn cameras.
As County Attorney for the third largest prosecutorial agency in the country, I believe this is a matter of public concern.
I fully support the mandated use of body-worn cameras for all uniformed officers in the field throughout the state. While there are cost challenges associated with deploying body-worn cameras widely, these are challenges that must be addressed.
When trying to determine what happens after an event like the one that ended in the death of Mr. Johnson, more information is always better. It is better for prosecutors. Better for the public, and, better for anyone who is committed to keeping our community safe.
Given the importance of these types of events where life and death decisions are made, having this additional information for those of us who must sit in judgement of someone’s actions, is good public policy.
I look forward to working with each of you on this much-needed effort.
Maricopa County Attorney
Copies of this letter have been sent to:
Governor Doug Ducey
Senate President Karen Fann
House Speaker Rusty Bowers
Senate Majority Leader Rick Gray
House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez
Senate Minority Leader David Bradley