Two months ago, a video went viral of Jennifer Harrison being laughed at while shouting "Respect our laws!" at a Tucson City Council meeting. Last week, the AZ Patriots founder was arrested on suspicion of identity theft — and she didn't go peacefully, police say.
The Arizona Republic broke the news on Friday of Harrison's October 24 arrest by Surprise police. Harrison has previously gained media attention for leading the AZ Patriots, a right-wing anti-immigration group, and performing antics like live-streaming herself at the international border while berating the migrants who cross it.
The investigation began on October 2 when Harrison’s ex-in-laws called to file a report, Surprise spokesperson Sergeant Tim Klarkowski told Phoenix New Times on Monday.
"Through the investigation, our detectives learned that Jennifer Harrison had booked a hotel room in California using the name of her ex-father-in-law and utilized 45,000 of his 'reward points,'" Klarkowski said. "It is believed Jennifer booked the hotel in order to attend a music festival in northern California in early October."
Harrison was released from jail the day after her arrest.
She did not respond when asked for comment, except to say on Facebook that her lawyer has advised her not to speak about the incident.
In a post made two days after her arrest, Harrison said, "piranhas are circling for blood. It's my blood they want. Thirsty bastards." She also replied to a comment from another Facebook user asking what happened, by writing "jealous ex husbands = bullshit charges! I cant say anything yet til I speak to my lawyer on Monday. Family drama aired all over the local news."
In May, Harrison and her group dumped trash at a donation drop-off for asylum seekers. The following month, local churches sued Harrison and the AZ Patriots for trespassing and defamation after Harrison and others repeatedly intimidated volunteers who provided food and shelter to undocumented immigrants.
Then in August, video of Harrison wearing a MAGA hat and shouting at a Tucson City Council meeting about a sanctuary city initiative went viral when community activist and comedian Alex Kack, now known as "Green Shirt Guy," laughed hysterically at Harrison as she interrupted the meeting.
Scene inside a Tucson City Council Meeting. Officials voted to put a "Sanctuary City" measure on the November ballot pic.twitter.com/mEh4PNj0Wo— Nick VinZant (@NickVinZant) August 7, 2019
Identity theft is a Class 4 felony in Arizona. Police say Harrison used the points to make a hotel reservation to attend a music festival in Northern California on September 30, the Arizona Republic reported.
Court documents indicate that when police detained her, Harrison insisted she was innocent, kicked over a trash can, cursed, and refused to cooperate with police.
"Jennifer created a scene at the PD (police department) and in the booking room because she believes she is above the law and does not want to be treated like a criminal," a document obtained by the Arizona Republic states. New Times has requested Harrison's booking form but has not yet received it.
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