Court Grants Arizona Senator Restraining Order Against Reporter
By Daniel Stefanski |
A little drama between a member of the Arizona press corps and a state senator marked this week at the Arizona Legislature.
On Thursday, the Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus issued a press release, revealing that “a Coconino County Judge granted Senator Wendy Rogers an Injunction Against Harassment, which was served to a reporter.” That reporter was Camryn Sanchez from the Arizona Capitol Times.
Senator Rogers outlined the reasons for the court order, writing: “Earlier in this legislative session, after the reporter repeatedly invaded my personal space at my desk in the Senate Chamber, I requested that the Senate Sergeant at Arms and staff convey to the reporter that I did not want her to approach me. I didn’t have any further issues with this reporter until this week, when she showed up at two of my Valley homes, multiple times. The latest attempted contact at one of my residences happened Wednesday night. I don’t know this reporter personally, I don’t know what she is capable of, and I don’t believe anyone in their right mind would show up uninvited to my home at night. Therefore, I don’t trust that this person wouldn’t lash out and try to physically harm me in some fashion.”
Earlier Thursday, Rogers tweeted out pictures of a woman standing at what appeared to be multiple homes, stating, “Creepy @azcapitoltimes reporter @CamrynSanchezAZ has been stalking me and my neighbors at my private residences with no explanation. A judge just issued a restraining order against her for her bizarre behavior. See photos.”
In a perceived sign of solidarity with Rogers, Senate President Warren Petersen included his own statement in the Republican Caucus’ release, saying, “Our members know that the media will frequently engage with us in order to document the happenings at the Legislature, but everyone deserves privacy in their personal residences without worrying about reporters repeatedly showing up unannounced. A judge, who is a disinterested, non-biased, third-party heard Senator Rogers’ complaint and agreed with her position.”
Rogers opined on her decision to seek the court-issued injunction: “After seeking guidance from my legal counsel, family, and neighbors who are also quite bothered by the attempted contacts, we decided the Injunction Against Harassment would be the best approach. My neighbors should not have had to put up with this harassment either. When I signed up to be a public servant, I understood what the job entailed, including unwarranted harassment. I’m thankful to the judge who recognized the need to issue the restraining order, and I’m hopeful this reporter will heed the warning and stop showing up at my homes or face the full force and effect of law.”
The reporter, Sanchez, was defended by many of her colleagues from around Arizona. Brahm Resnik, a longtime anchor for 12News Phoenix, tweeted, “Sen. Wendy Rogers is playing a very dangerous game in order to stifle a legitimate investigation of her acceptance of taxpayer dollars. Her irresponsible speculation about a reporter’s behavior creates a predicate for Rogers or others to take action against the media.”
Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, a reporter with the Arizona Mirror, wrote, “Camryn Sanchez is nothing but professional. Knocking on doors is the most basic J-School 101 reporting technique. Reporters have been doing it forever. If a politician is afraid of a reporter knocking on their door it says more about them than the reporter.”
And Hank Stephenson, a writer for the Arizona Agenda, chimed in with his thoughts: “So I’m thinking press corps caravan to all of Wendy’s houses….How’s Saturday for y’all?”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.