PHOENIX – Somos Independents is an organization led by Mexican-American women leaders across this Nation. According to the Arizona Republic: “A Maricopa County Superior Court judge took under advisement a request by several media outlets to unseal court records regarding Aaron Juan Saucedo, who police and prosecutors believe to be the “Serial Street Shooter” who terrorized predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods in Phoenix between the summer of 2015 and July 2016. In a hearing Wednesday, Deputy County Attorney Patricia Stevens argued that the document should remain closed to keep the media from interfering in the ongoing investigation and to protect what she called “investigatory conclusions” set forth in the document.”
We want to congratulate the Phoenix Police Department for securing a person of interest. However, we are respectfully requesting more transparency as it relates to the Maryvale and Phoenix area murders that have affected our community.
Lydia Hernandez who is a former Arizona State Representative and resident of Maryvale states:
“As a resident of Maryvale where many shooting occurred, I am asking for due diligence. We don’t want to build a false sense of security for our residents. I want the security of knowing that we got the right person beyond a reasonable doubt. Our community is depending on the information that is being shared. Announcements of having captured the Maryvale shooter is technically wrong considering that the person of interest has not been convicted, yet. There are still judicial proceedings to be had. With little information being shared, it has not been proven that the responsible person has been captured.”
DeeDee Garcia Blase, co-founder of Somos Independents states:
“Here at Somos Independents, we believe in investigative journalism and the right to circulate opinions in print without censorship by the government, and we intend on supporting the enjoyment of our freedom of press under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. We believe in transparency particularly when the public’s faith in our local authorities has waned due to the handling of a high profile freeway shooting case when we learned Leslie Merritt was charged for this crime and later vindicated — and it was in that case, too, where local authorities requested sealing records, only to unseal records later on. The public has a right to know why one single pawn shop in Phoenix has access to weapons involving 2 high profile shooting cases in the state of Arizona and the pawn shop is a red flag to any reasonable person in search for the truth.”
We hope to have answers to these burning questions that will help the community know and be confident that the right man being accused is in jail. Now that records have been sealed with a lack of transparency, we may not ever know the answers to these questions. The Freeway shooting incident takes away a little bit of confidence since a man (Leslie Merritt) was falsely accused and later vindicated. Now that Leslie Merritt is filing a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Arizona local authorities, the rest of the American public should not be punished with gross further lack of transparency due to local authorities botching up the freeway shooting case. There should be no price attached to our enjoyment of freedom of press.