The shooting earlier this week in Tucson of a black man police mistook for an escaped convict has heightened tensions, angered minorities and led to new calls for a civilian review board to monitor police activities in the southern Arizona city.
Fred Logan, 31, was shot by plainclothes detective Skip Woodward Monday. Woodward said he mistook Logan for a prison escapee and thought he was about to fire a gun.
No weapon was found.
Logan, who is hospitalized in good condition, told a reporter today that he was not carrying a weapon and that Woodward failed to identify himself as a police officer.
A police department investigation concluded that Woodward shot Logan twice without suitable justification, and recommended that the detective be suspended two months without pay.
Woodward can appeal the decision, which has been backed by Police Chief William Gilkinson, to a local civil service commission.
Meanwhile, a board member of the Tucson chapter of the NAACP says that agency is considering asking the Justice Department to investigate alleged police over-reaction in Tucson.
"Police should stop shooting blacks. They ought to know what we look like and stop having mistaken identities," said NAACP board member Grover Banks.
"There has been a pattern of policemen shooting minorities without knowing who they were or without having probable cause."
Banks said the NAACP also is considering filing a civil suit against the police department and city officials.
In April, a policeman fired eight shots at Billy Hart, a black, during a chase that began when Hart failed to stop for a traffic citation. Hart was hospitalized with abdominal wounds. The officer was suspended four days.
Two weeks ago, a Mexican-American woman claimed that officers mistakenly broke down the door of her house in a narcotics raid.
The NAACP, the sourthern Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Manzo Area Council, a local Hispanic service organization, are calling for a board to review police actions.
"There have been many allegations of police brutality and harassment against minority persons and, generally speaking, nothing happens to the police officers," charged Helen Mautner, an ACLU official.
"A civilian review board, which would be composed of citizens outside the police department as well as police officers, would be able to sit and review these cases and make a fair judgment for everybody."
The idea is opposed by Gilkinson, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and Tucson Mayor Lewis Murphy.
"Traditionally Mayor Murphy has been opposed to a civilian review board on the basis that the mayor and [city] council [are] a civilian review board," said Bill Kimmey, an administrative assistant to Murphy, who was unavailable for comment.
But that stand has not satisfied minorities, who claim they are subjected to a dual standard to justice in Tucson, which has the reputation of being Arizona's most liberal city.
A survey taken in Tucson when calls for a review board were first made several years ago found that black teen-age males were stopped without probable cause by police twice as often as whites.
"It's not an equitable way they deal with poor folks and affluent people," said the NAACP'S Banks. "If you're a kid and you get stopped in the [affluent] foothills, they take you home to your father. In the ghetto they take you to jail."
Logan says he is convinced that a review board is needed.
He termed Woodward's possible 60-day suspension "rather light."
"I think I got hurt a whole lot worse than just a 60-day suspension," he said from his hospital bed.