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If there are any questions as to whether there is a legal double standard at work for the average citizen and one of impunity for the state lawmaker, this story will dispel all doubt.
Arizona’s 5th District Representative, Paul Mosley, was caught at 4:30 p.m. on March 27, 2018, by a La Paz County Sheriff’s Deputy just north of Parker, allegedly driving 97 mph in a 55 mph speed zone. Since there are no speed limits above 75 mph (on interstates), going 10 mph over is considered “criminal speeding,” and Mosley was going 42 mph over the speed limit.
Mosley, instead of being humble, contrite, and respectful of the serious situation he was facing—which could have included arrest—bragged to the officer that he was going much faster before he got caught and frequently drives well over 100 mph. After telling the officer he was driving 120 mph just before being pulled over, he remarked:
“Yeah, I go 130, 140, 120. I come down I-10, I was going 120 almost, you know, if there was no traffic,” Mosley said.
The officer cautioned the state legislator about the dangers of driving so fast, how he himself will not speed at such a high rate of speed, and how he’s seen way too many accidents to conclude excessive speeding is in any way recommended. Then he let Mosley go without arrest and without a criminal speeding citation. Later, in the police report obtained by Parker Live Online, the officer noted:
I explained the reason for the stop to Mosley and asked if there was any reason he was traveling so fast…I informed Mosley that 97 mph in a 55 mph zone is considered criminal speed. Mosley stated he was just in a hurry to get home to surprise his family in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Mosley also told me that I should just let him go and that I shouldn’t waste anymore of my time dealing with him due to his immunity as a government official.
Shockingly, Mosley was right! According to Arizona State Law, legislators in the state are immune from prosecution, during their legislative session, presumably to prevent political opponents from using the police to target lawmakers while they’re supposed to be creating new laws. According to AZ Law:
Members of the legislature shall be privileged from arrest in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, and they shall not be subject to any civil process during the session of the legislature, nor for fifteen days next before the commencement of each session. (Article IV, part 2, section 6.).
Mosley issued an apology on his Facebook page after the scandalous body camera footage was released to the press. The interaction went viral and the lawmaker was forced to give an account for his reckless driving habits. He wrote:
I would like to apologize to my colleagues and constituents, as well as law enforcement, for my conduct on March 27th, 2018, which is shown in the recently-released video. My desire to get home to see my family does not justify how fast I was speeding nor my reference to legislative immunity when being pulled over. Legislative immunity is a serious responsibility and should not be taken lightly or abused. In addition, my jokes about frequently driving over 100 miles per hour during my 3-hour commute to and from the capitol were entirely inappropriate and showed extremely bad judgement on my part, for which I am truly sorry. I have no excuse for any of this, only regret of my actions, a hope for forgiveness and a commitment that it will not happen again.
Ask anyone who has lived in Arizona for any length of time and they will tell you—especially if they are from a lower socioeconomic class—that there is one set of laws for citizens and quite another for those in political power.
Take, for instance, the following case of criminal speeding, also in Arizona. Marc LeBeau was pulled over by an Arizona State Trooper in July 2016 for criminal speeding. We interviewed LeBeau shortly after the incident and he recounted the horror he experienced.
LeBeau said he was asked to get out of the car but he was driving barefoot. LeBeau kindly asked the officer if he could retrieve his sandals and was told “No” by the officer. Because the pavement was 160 degrees, LeBeau started to dance around to avoid the pain experienced in his feet. The officer then escalated the situation by taking LeBeau to the pavement.
A bystander recorded what happened next. LeBeau started screaming in pain, writhing even, begging the officer to take him to the sidewalk or the “rocks.” The video then shows the officer laying on top of him to talk some sense into him, so to speak. But the officer had to have known what he was doing. It would have been impossible for him to have not known how hot the pavement was on that summer day in a state that sees temperatures regularly exceeding 120 degrees in July.
A motorist stopped to aid the officer in handcuffing LeBeau but the damage was done. LeBeau suffered third-degree burns over many parts of his body, all for, as he says, getting mouthy with the police.
You have to have been born in a barn somewhere not to see the blatant hypocrisy in the way different social classes are treated in Arizona. Here are LeBeau’s injuries. You decide which person got the sweetheart deal.
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