Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic senator who last year condemned a group of activists after they videotaped themselves urging her to support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented Americans in a bathroom at Arizona State University, apparently was hiding in the bathroom to avoid being filmed.
In a police report obtained by the Arizona Mirror and published on Wednesday, the senator is described as telling officers that she knew it was illegal to film people while they are in the process of using the restroom, and hoped to shield herself from being videotaped further by activists by waiting inside.
“Sinema stated this was not her first time being approached in this way and that is why she entered the bathroom, knowing it was illegal for someone to record another person inside the bathroom,” wrote Sgt Katie Fuchtman of the ASU police department in her report, according to the Mirror.
The scene last year resulted in condemnations of the activists’ work by numerous senators as well as President Joe Biden, who said he didn’t think the tactics were appropriate. Charges were initially recommended for several involved, as several students who were in the bathroom at the time said they felt their privacy was violated (in addition to Ms Sinema’s) by the activists. But local prosecutors returned the case to police for further investigation, where it currently remains.
“Yesterday’s behavior was not legitimate protest,” said Ms Sinema at the time. “It is unacceptable for activist organizations to instruct their members to jeopardize themselves by engaging in unlawful activities such as gaining entry to close university buildings, disrupting learning environments, and filming students in a restroom.”
“My students were unfairly and unlawfully victimized. This is wholly inappropriate,” she added.
Hopes for the Biden administration to shepherd passage of a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants looks all but dead at least through 2022 due to the shelving of the president’s Build Back Better legislation and action from the Senate parliamentarian ruling against including several attempts by Democrats to include such language in the bill.
At least one of the activists who confronted Ms Sinema that day identified as undocumented, and could potentially face removal from the US after losing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections should she be convicted of any crime.
A spokesperson for the senator told the Mirror that Ms Sinema had “expressed to law enforcement that she hopes no students would face immigration-related consequences as a result of this activity”, but the senator’s office has alleged that a crime was committed and urged prosecution by local officials.
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