Phoenix, AZ – A belligerent Phoenix city councilman argued with Arizona State University (ASU) police and threatened to have them fired during a traffic stop in September (video below).
ASU police stopped Phoenix City Councilman Carlos Garcia near Van Buren Street and First Avenue on Sept. 10, after the license plate on his vehicle came back as suspended, KNXV reported.
The officers approached Garcia and told him why he was pulled over, but the confrontational councilman declared that the officers had no jurisdiction off of the ASU campus, bodycam footage showed.
“I don’t believe you have jurisdiction,” he told the officer, according to KNXV. “I need an explanation as to what you were doing parked at the Bank of America running plates.”
The officer assured Garcia that they had jurisdiction, but he persisted.
“I had explained to Garcia that I was a certified police officer through the state of Arizona,” one of the officers later wrote in his report, according to KNXV.
"My concern is that you're out of jurisdiction,” the councilman argued. “This is downtown Phoenix.”
“Yes, and our campus is right there,” a second officer responded, noting the ASU campus across the street.
“Okay, I’m not here to sit and argue with you, sir, what you do and don’t believe,” the initial officer said.
Garcia handed over the documents the officers requested, then urged them to wrap things up “as quick as possible” because he had “a meeting to go to,” the video showed.
Police soon determined that the insurance on the vehicle was canceled in August for nonpayment, KNXV reported.
They cited the councilman for the traffic violation, but he refused to sign the ticket.
“I just need to look into that more to figure out how to get you guys out of here,” the councilman told the officers at one point, bodycam footage showed.
“Get us out of here?” the officer asked. “Good luck with that.”
“Well, do you wanna see who I am?” Garcia spouted, just before the officers walked away and returned to their patrol vehicle.
Political expert Stan Barnes said that Garcia’s behavior towards the officers could negatively impact his relationships with other city leaders.
“The elected official who plays the, 'Do you know who I am card?' is an elected official that is suffering from a lack of understanding of their office," Barnes told KNXV. "I think it makes him continually radioactive as someone to try to do business with, try to make decisions on the city council. It colors everything in a very bad way and will probably hurt his own relationships with other councilmen that are needed in order for the city to function.”
Garcia claimed that he did not know the vehicle’s plates were suspended because the vehicle belongs to his father.
“In no way am I disputing the citation itself," he told KNXV in an interview as he continued to insist he's the one in the right. "What I am disputing is the priorities that the ASU Police Department sets.”
Garcia said that when the officer asked him for his social security number, it “triggered something” in him, so he refused.
“It really made me question even further why they were doing what they were doing," he said. "I thought as an immigrant rights activist and a police accountability activist for a long time, I’m concerned that a stop like that can end up in deportation proceedings or escalating to something else.”
The councilman doubled-down on his accusations that the ASU police should not have been patrolling the area where he was pulled over.
"Their job is to patrol ASU campus. That’s where they should stay,” he declared. “I wasn’t sure why I was being pulled over, right? It looked like profiling.”
Garcia further claimed that the only reason he wanted to tell the officers that he was a member of the city council was “to let them know…why I was important that I was asking those questions,” KNXV reported.
You can watch bodycam footage of the officers’ encounter with Garcia in the video below: