Somehow I thought by the end of the week the atmosphere would lighten. Did not happen, so we persevere because we were born for the moment. Tucson hit the national news so I don’t need to write as much as initially intended. Carlos Ingram Lopez and I had a few things in common.
1.We both lived in Tucson and grew up in the Old Pueblo.
2. We both loved to cook from scratch – although he had me beat in that he graduated from culinary school.
3. Lastly, both of our families had a member killed by the Tucson Police Department. My uncle Victor Simms died in 1980 under still to this day unknown circumstances after an encounter with local law enforcement.
Crime, including violent crime, has significantly decreased (close to 70% according to Bureau of Justice statistics) in the United States over the past 25 years. The City of Tucson wants to spend 12.4% of its’ overall budget on policing in fiscal year 2020-21, a greater percentage than was spent this year in urban clusters New York City, Boston, and San Francisco. The numbers are troubling because in 2018 the Tucson Police Department ranked number 4 in police killings in cities with more than 100,000 residents topping Atlanta, New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia.
The majority of people killed by Tucson police are Latinx however a disproportionate number of Black people are also killed. Tucson, we have a problem. Mayor Romero and the City council proposed a $2 million increase to the 2020-21 police budget which would result in cuts to desperately needed housing programs. The mayor has since said she would hire a housing specialist and a few mental health professionals. Coupled with the Chief Magnus backed, 1st amendment abridgement christened Ordinance 11746 which prevents videotaping of police officers during investigations that passed days after Mr. Lopez was killed, to say that Tucsonans have lost faith in leadership is a polite way of saying Mayor Romero and Chief Magnus, you had better think again. Admitting we have a problem is the first step.