Carlos Garcia wears an ‘end police brutality’ T-shirt. Who …
Who cares that Phoenix Councilman Carlos García sports a T-shirt that says, “end police brutality”?
A lot of people, apparently. And among them two of his Hispanic council colleagues.
You’d think Council members Betty Guardado and Michael Nowakowski would know better than joke about García’s top priority of improving police behavior, given they represent neighborhoods crying out for better interactions with the men and women in blue.
They apologized for the YouTube video in which they appear to joke about García’s take on police. García in turn said in a statement that he holds “no ill feelings” toward his colleagues.
All is good then? Absolutely not.
Police brutality is no laughing matter
It’s not OK for anyone, much less an elected official, to get a laugh at the expense of such an important matter. Not when some residents are still suffering because of police misbehavior, as some residents have pointed out.
The Arizona Republic’s extensive reporting showed that Phoenix police had an average of 17 shootings per every 1 million residents from 2011 to 2018. Police shot at 212 people, killing about half during that period.
And guess who got disproportionally shot at? Yep. Hispanics, blacks and Native Americans. How is that a laughing matter, even meant as a joke?
The joke was on García, but you can’t separate him from the issue itself. Ending police brutality is García’s signature platform. It got him elected, and he has been working with his colleagues to set up a civilian review board and other measures to deal with police conduct.
Councilman Sal DiCiccio, a conservative and staunch supporter of police, jumped at the chance to bat for Guardado and Nowakowski, saying “political correctness and the cancel culture is babyish.”
It’s easy to dismiss a joke when that joke isn’t on you or the people you represent.
I cringed, too, but that’s who Garcia is
García got his notoriety as a rebel rouser, an unapologetic activist willing to do anything for his people. I confess I cringed a bit when I first saw him at an official council meeting wearing his “end police brutality” shirt.
But heck. That’s exactly who he is. I get the fact that he represents everyone in District 8, not just those who agree with him on police and other matters.
Some say he should toss out his political attire because it disrespects police and could make it harder for him to accomplish his objective.
I’ve disagreed with García on many fronts over the years. But on this particular political attire? Nah. I welcome authenticity and Carlos García is being just that – unapologetically authentic.
Elvia Díaz is an editorial columnist for The Republic and azcentral. Reach her at 602-444-8606 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @elviadiaz1.
Published at Tue, 14 Jan 2020 13:50:00 +0000