Congressional Candidate Engel Supported Police Defunded, Replaced With Social Workers

Congressional Candidate Engel Supported Police Defunded, Replaced With Social Workers

By Corinne Murdock |

Democratic congressional candidate Kirsten Engel pledged support for reallocating police funding to social programs and replacing police with social workers.

The University of Arizona (UArizona) law professor made those remarks in a resurfaced 2020 Clean Elections interview, which her Republican opponent Juan Ciscomani shared. 

“What we need to do is shift where the money is going. Not every 911 call requires a police officer to show up at your door,” said Engel. 

In June 2020, Engel sided with Tucson Councilwoman Lane Santa Cruz after she accused Tucson police officers of murder and violence concerning the death of a man in custody. 

The man in question, Carlos Ingram-Lopez, died from cardiac arrest due to excessive cocaine in his system. Contributors to Ingram-Lopez’s death bore striking similarities to that of George Floyd’s less than a month earlier: a drug overdose, enlarged heart, and physical restraint. The Tucson Police Officers Association (TPOA) disclosed that the officers Santa Cruz accused falsely of killing Ingram-Lopez resigned out of fear for their families’ safety. 

Engel criticized TPOA for speaking out against Santa Cruz’s fabrication. She accused TPOA of bullying and intimidation. 

Then-Police Chief Chris Magnus offered to resign over Ingram-Lopez’s death. The city rejected his resignation. Magnus would later be appointed as the head of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). 

At the height of the BLM riots, Engel donated to the Arizona Justice Bailout Fund, which pledged to use donations to bail out BLM protestors. That bailout fund was launched by the scandal-ridden Our Voice Our Vote Arizona in conjunction with Arizona Coalition for Change.

Engel’s 2020 advocacy marked a departure from her previous years in the state legislature, when she was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). 

Engel’s social media postings about police slowed after the summer of 2020, when she signaled support for the sweeping police reforms and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests across the nation. Additionally, Engel’s campaign platform doesn’t address policing at all. However, Engel’s recent campaign actions indicate that her perspective on policing hasn’t veered too far from her 2020 stance.

In June, Engel signed a pledge by the Reparations Pledge PAC. That PAC and its founder, Redeem Robinson, advocate for defunding the police.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to