PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Protesters who confronted Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in the bathroom on the ASU campus in downtown Phoenix earlier this month may face legal consequences. On Wednesday, the ASU police department confirmed that officers completed their investigation and submitted charges in the case to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. The recommended charges would be against four people and are misdemeanors, Adam Wolfe with ASU Police said. No other details were made available.
On Oct. 3, activists recorded themselves trying to stop Arizona's senior senator outside her classroom and asking her questions about the Build Back Better Act and why she won't support it. They also criticized her for not supporting proposals of a pathway to citizenship for people who are in the U.S. illegally. The protesters then followed her into the bathroom as she went into a stall while they kept recording. One of the protesters said in the video Sinema wasn't keeping her promises. "We need to hold you accountable for what you promised us that you were going to pass when we knocked on doors for you," said the woman who identified herself as Blanca. Living United for Change in Arizona, also known as LUCHA, posted the video on social media.
Sinema is seen surrounded by students following her and chanting "build back better, pass the bill! Undocumented, unafraid!"
A day later, Sinema sent out a statement condemning the confrontation and said it wasn't a "legitimate protest." "In the 19 years I have been teaching at ASU, I have been committed to creating a safe and intellectually challenging environment for my students," Sinema said. "Yesterday, that environment was breached. My students were unfairly and unlawfully victimized." Sinema, a former social worker, is a lecturer at ASU's School of Social Work.
LUCHA said its members were forced to confront Sinema at ASU because she has been inaccessible. "Sinema's constituents have not been granted access to her office. They have been ignored, dismissed, and antagonized," the group said in an Oct. 4 statement. Sinema said in her statement she has met with the group multiple times since she was elected to the Senate.
The protest gained national headlines, with President Joe Biden commenting on it. "I don't think they're appropriate tactics, but it happens to everybody. The only people it doesn't happen to are people who have Secret Service standing around them. So it's part of the process," Biden said.