Wednesday, October 9, 2013



Note:   A planned escalation?  

Dozens confront Border Patrol agents during Tucson traffic stop
Perla Trevizo/Arizona Daily Star

Tucson Police Department officers use pepper spray to force protesters back into the sidewalk. Several dozen protesters gathered outside Southside Presbyterian Church Tuesday night in an attempt to prevent the Border Patrol from taking three people into custody.

10 hours ago  •  Perla Trevizo Arizona Daily Star

Dozens of protesters tried to use their bodies as shields to prevent the detention of three suspected illegal immigrants stopped in front of Southside Presbyterian Church Tuesday night.

At the end of a sometimes raucous confrontation, the crowd was dispersed after Tucson Police Department officers used pepper spray to force them back onto the sidewalk.

About 7 p.m., two day laborers with the Corazon de Tucson were stopped by Tucson police officers for not having a functioning light on their license plate.

Neither of them had a driver's license or identification and had never been issued one by the state, said Sgt. Maria Hawke, a Tucson police spokeswoman. The misdemeanor triggers a mandatory vehicle impoundment.

State law also required the officersto seek immigration check, prompting the officers to ask the Border Patrol to respond to the scene, she said.

Before long, dozens of activists and community members had gathered outside the church to protest the detention of the two men.

Up to 100 people were there at the peak of the protest, Tucson police estimate.

About 20 or 30 of the protesters formed a double circle around the Border Patrol vehicle in an effort to stop them from leaving. Another person tried to crawl under the vehicle, said Raúl Al-qaraz Ochoa, a local activist who has used that tactic before, resulting in his arrest.

Border Patrol agents were pulling on people trying to get them away from the vehicle and had their Tasers out, Al-qaraz Ochoa said.

Border Patrol was unavailable for comment on the incident Tuesday night.

While the crowd tried to stop the detention of the two men, Al-qaraz Ochoa said someone yelled, "they are taking someone else." He tried to run after the car but it was too late.

In that incident, a woman was driving through the road heading home when a Border Patrol agent asked her for her driver's license.

Shortly after 8 p.m. there were several Border Patrol and TPD vehicles blocking South 10th Avenue from West 22nd street to West 24th street.

A total of seven TPD personnel responded to the scene, Hawke said. She did not know how many Border Patrol agents were there. Some activists estimated it was more than 15 agents.

When the activists tried again to keep the agents from leaving, a Tucson police force commander there authorized the use of pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Tucson firefighters were called to treat the most affected by the spray.

No arrests were made, Hawke said.

This is not the first time local organizers have protested and tried to prevent similar apprehension, which they refer to as s separation of families.
"We want to make the injustice of separating families visible," said Al-qaraz Ochoa.

When arrests are made, they are usually made quietly and no one finds out until after the fact, he said.  "The community intervened this time so they wouldn't take a member of our community away," he said. "We are tired of only taking note of what's happening."

Hawke said it was the first time the department faced a spontaneous protest like this.


Arizona ACLU seeks probe of 'roving' Border Patrol stops
8 hours ago  •  By Perla Trevizo Arizona Daily Star

The ACLU of Arizona was to file a complaint today to the Department of Homeland Security requesting an investigation of what it calls unlawful roving patrol stops by Border Patrol agents in Southern Arizona.

"We are asking them to investigate the alleged abuses by the individual agents and the response from the agency," said James Lyall, an ACLU staff attorney in Arizona.

They are also asking the DHS Office of Inspector General and the Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties to consider whether Customs and Border Protection in Arizona is conducting lawful roving patrol operations and whether there is a need for better training and oversight.

The 14-page report includes five individual cases when people reported being stopped for no apparent reason and being subjected to abuse after questioning the agents.

The reports are among dozens the ACLU has received since it opened its Tucson office in June.

CBP wasn't available for comment Tuesday.

Unlawful roving patrol stops by the Border Patrol are a long-standing and widespread problem, Lyall said.

The ACLU of Washington filed a class-action lawsuit last year against CBP accusing the agency of racial profiling during traffic stops.

The agency admitted no wrongdoing in the case, but under the settlement, the Border Patrol will provide additional training to its agents in Washington's Olympic Peninsula on traffic stops that require reasonable suspicion.

It also has to hand over patrol data to the ACLU for the next 18 months.

One of the Arizona cases highlighted by the organization involved a U.S. citizen mother of two driving home after picking up her daughter from school.

Clarisa Christiansen was pulled over by a Border Patrol agent a couple of miles from her home in Three Points on May 21.

The agent asked about her citizenship and asked to search her vehicle.

When she refused and asked why she was stopped, the agent said he wouldn't give her an explanation until she stepped out of the vehicle, the complaint reads.

The agent threatened to cut her out of her seat belt with a retractable knife, according to the complaint, and eventually removed the keys from the ignition.

Christiansen got out of the vehicle and gave the agent her driver's license. After the agent ran a background check, he gave her license back and drove away.

Christiansen noticed her rear tire had been punctured and was flat. She immediately reported the incident and, seeking compensation for the tire, met with an investigator.

But she didn't hear back until the ACLU contacted the agency a month later. She was then told the investigator believed the tire was "torn" and not intentionally punctured.


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