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Hundreds protest as Arizona's immigration law takes effect

by Fuck Arizona's SB 1070 Saturday, Jul. 31, 2010 at 1:31 AM

At least 50 protesters angry with Arizona's new immigration law were arrested Thursday during numerous acts of civil disobedience, and some temporarily delayed Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's latest crime sweep that opponents say was designed to arrest illegal immigrants.

Hundreds protest as Arizona's immigration law takes effect

by Craig Harris and JJ Hensley - Jul. 30, 2010 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

At least 50 protesters angry with Arizona's new immigration law were arrested Thursday during numerous acts of civil disobedience, and some temporarily delayed Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's latest crime sweep that opponents say was designed to arrest illegal immigrants.

On the day that Arizona's scaled-down immigration law went into effect, hundreds of activists marched on downtown Phoenix, but one of the biggest confrontations occurred just outside Arpaio's Fourth Avenue Jail.

Protesters there blocked an entrance to the Maricopa County facility, prompting the arrests of 23 people after they refused to move. At least two journalists covering the event were detained by the Sheriff's Office, but both were later released and not charged.

Key segments of Arizona's law, known as Senate Bill 1070, were put on hold Wednesday when U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued an order blocking four parts. The ruling came after the federal government sued the state, claiming the law was unconstitutional. Provisions of the law that were not blocked took effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

Bolton's ruling, however, didn't stop the protests, which occurred as Gov. Jan Brewer's office filed an appeal Thursday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift Bolton's injunction.

Bolton's ruling had little effect on Arpaio, who said he had planned for two weeks to conduct his 17th crime suppression sweep. The sheriff said nothing in Bolton's ruling prevented him from continuing his sweeps, which he has done for two years.

The sweep was supposed to begin at high noon with 200 deputies and volunteer posse members, but the sheriff was forced to deploy numerous officers to the jail for a protest that attracted several hundred people.

At least 60 officers, including SWAT members, stood guard after six people were arrested for chaining themselves to the building. About 10 others were taken into custody by deputies dressed in riot gear after they blocked the jail's driveway and refused to move.

In total, 23 people, including two juveniles, were arrested. The adults were booked for blocking a public thoroughfare and failure to obey a law enforcement officer, while the juveniles were cited and released, according to the Sheriff's Office. The Phoenix Police Department said it would not have the number of arrests it made until today, but the Arizona Department of Public Safety estimated at least 50 people were arrested in total by Phoenix and Maricopa County officers.

In Tucson, authorities arrested 13 in similar street demonstrations.

Arpaio said the jail demonstration was unsuccessful in stopping his crime sweep.

"I got news for them," Arpaio said. "Their little plan didn't work. They are not going to hold this sheriff and this jail hostage."

But the Thursday afternoon sweep, which focused on the north and west Valley, had resulted in 10 arrests, including at least one for a warrant violation, as of 9 p.m.

Protesters at the jail felt they were successful in slowing down Arpaio and his sweep.

"We're not trying to get arrested, we are trying to make a point," said Ruben Lucio, 21, of Phoenix.

The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Phoenix said she came to the jail because "I am standing for human rights." "Not one more person, not one more mother, not one more grandfather will be taken from their family."

Arizona's immigration law makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally. It states that an officer engaged in a lawful stop, detention or arrest shall, when practicable, ask about a person's legal status when reasonable suspicion exists that the person is in the U.S. illegally.

But Bolton's ruling stopped those provisions along with criminalizing the conduct of illegal immigrants who seek or perform work.

Protesters arrested

Thursday morning's protests started quietly enough, with an early-morning prayer vigil and a march from the state Capitol to the Trinity Cathedral in downtown Phoenix. About 400 people attended the service at the Trinity Cathedral, and then demonstrators marched toward the federal courthouse.

Three people, including former state lawmaker and activist Alfredo Gutierrez, were arrested there around 8:30 a.m. David Gonzales, U.S. marshal for Arizona, said Gutierrez and the two others were arrested on misdemeanor federal charges for trespassing at the U.S. District Court. Gonzales placed the handcuffs on Gutierrez, a longtime acquaintance.

"It's kind of interesting to arrest a friend," he noted.

Gonzales said it is not unusual for political demonstrators to work out an advance understanding when civil disobedience is planned.

"It's good for them and it's good for the government," he said. "It calms down the crowd, and everybody knows what's going to happen."

The three were cited at the courthouse and released, remaining in custody about an hour, Gonzales said. They have been given court dates and face maximum fines of each if found guilty.

"I'm fine. I was in the hands of the feds, and I was not in Arpaio's hands," Gutierrez said in a phone interview later in the day. "We have made it very clear since the inception of this battle that this is precisely what we were going to do. We were not going to allow this law to go forward without a challenge on every front."

The other two taken into custody identified themselves as Dan O'Neal and Doris Perez.

"The (Bolton) injunction did not go far enough," O'Neal said moments before getting arrested. "This movement is about more than 1070."

Several activist groups then converged on Arpaio's offices near the Wells Fargo building in downtown Phoenix.

The groups that gathered outside his offices eventually led to multiple arrests on Washington Street.

Sending a message

Later in the day, other groups of peaceful protesters gathered on the lawn of the Capitol and at Cesar Chavez Plaza near Washington Street and Third Avenue. Crowds near the plaza numbered up to 500 people around 3 p.m. Demonstrators chanted but were not blocking the street.

About 250 assembled at the Capitol, and like other demonstrations held Thursday, the crowds were comprised nearly entirely of those opposed to SB 1070.

An exception was David Ollis of Phoenix, who got into a verbal sparring match with demonstrators.

"All I want is for you guys to respect our laws, just like we respect Mexican law," Ollis said, as about 30 protesters gathered around him.

One large group arrived on 11 buses from Southern California. They held a rally and prayer service before marching to the Capitol for yet another prayer service.

Faith groups have played a large role in the opposition to SB 1070, organizing protests in addition to a 103-day vigil at the state Capitol.

"In the face of fear that is assaulting our community, we must not be silent," saidFrederick-Gray. "We must make it clear which side we stand on. We stand on the side of love."

Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, meanwhile, publicly denounced Arpaio's immigration enforcement policies, and reminded protesters of a 2008 Sheriff's Office raid in Guadalupe.

"Brothers and sisters, no one was doing anything," Wilcox said of the public's response. "Everyone was scared."

Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski said participants in the marches intend to send a message - one of peace, education and solidarity.

Arpaio's sweep

Because many of his officers were busy at the midday jail protests, Arpaio's sweep got a delayed start. By late afternoon, deputies fanned out across the Valley with a caravan of news outlets following behind. Deputies quickly stopped drivers for traffic violations.

Shortly before 5 p.m., a car full of deputies stopped an SUV near 27th Avenue and Thomas Road, telling the driver that the window tint was too dark. After taking the driver's license the deputies asked for the passenger to identify herself, and Rommy Sain said she refused.

"That's when I knew that something was wrong," said Sain, who felt deputies stopped the car and asked for her ID because she is not White.

"I'm a U.S. citizen, and I know my rights," she said.

The deputies let the SUV drive away moments later without issuing a ticket.

About 15 minutes later, the same deputies stopped a car driven by Stephen Correa in the 4200 block of West Indian School Road. They said Correa, 24, had made an illegal lane change.

Cars honked at the scene and onlookers gathered in the parking lot of a Kmart on Indian School to watch the situation unfold.

Soon Correa, who court records indicate has a criminal history, was in handcuffs for driving on a cancelled license, said Sheriff's Deputy Eli Thompson.

Thursday's operation marked the 17th time Arpaio has deployed hundreds of deputies and volunteer posse members in an area of the Valley to root out illegal immigrants.

Deputies typically take a "zero tolerance" approach to traffic offenses and then check the criminal history of the motorists.

Some of Arpaio's deputies who were trained to enforce federal immigration law used to be able to conduct roadside immigration screenings, but the federal office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement stripped deputies of that authority last year, forcing deputies to wait until they bring suspects to jail to determine immigration status.

If the deputies come across residents who admit being in the country illegally but who have not committed a state crime, they typically coordinate with local ICE officials to transfer custody of those suspects.

A key piece of the law that Bolton blocked Wednesday would have allowed deputies to arrest some of those suspects for violating the new law if they weren't carrying registration documents.

The size and scope of the sweeps have varied since Arpaio launched the efforts in 2008 near 32nd Street and Thomas Road.

A three-day sweep in Mesa last summer paid 83 deputies and supervisors to arrest 59 people at a cost of ,387. A two-day operation in Fountain Hills in May 2008 used 13 deputies, cost ,947 and resulted in 20 arrests.

The Sheriff's Office pays for the operations through its general fund, state funding and grants.

Arpaio is not concerned about the expense, saying the deputies in those operations would be working anyway - it is just a matter of when and where.

Advocates of the sweeps say their value is largely in discouraging illegal immigrants from remaining in the community.

However, critics suggest they simply scare legal and illegal immigrants alike and drive a wedge between members of the community and law enforcement.

While Arpaio's past 16 crime-suppression operations have captured a variety of criminals, the majority of offenders were booked for relatively minor offenses, an review of crime data concluded.

For example, an April sweep caught 93 people, most of whom were snared either solely for immigration violations or for minor offenses. Only two violent offenders were arrested.

Arpaio's deputies have arrested 932 people in their operations dating back to March 2008. Of those, 708 were suspected of being in the country illegally, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Ginger Rough, Jim Walsh, Glen Creno, Dennis Wagner, Brittany Williams, Derek Quizon, Kevin Kiley, David Wallace, Michael Ferraresi, Lindsey Collom and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

Phoenix police trained for immigration protests

by Michael Ferraresi and Lindsey Collom - Jul. 30, 2010 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

The officers sat in the cool of the Phoenix Municipal Court basement watching DVDs on laptop computers, reading books and dozing off with their riot helmets as pillows, waiting patiently for the protesters to arrive.

As the crowd swelled near Phoenix City Hall, the officers moved in formation to clear the street of protesters and journalists amid chants denouncing Senate Bill 1070.

Phoenix deployed several hundred police along Washington Street and other busy downtown streets on Thursday, led by a core group of about 150 crowd-control officers carrying detailed protest plans.

By midday, more than 20 protesters were in custody, including women and youngsters who linked arms in solidarity before they were led off the street.

A mile away from the action, operation chiefs were calling shots from the second-floor of a Phoenix Fire Department administration building as part of a coordinated effort spanning multiple law-enforcement agencies. Police leaders said they aim to overstaff security for large-scale protests and other major events to ensure backup for officers on the front lines.

Thursday morning's march and protests were mostly peaceful, though tactically trained officers know that any major event can turn violent quickly.

"It can go from peaceful to riotous in a second," Phoenix police Sgt. Ed DeCastro said. "It just takes one sentence or a bottle being thrown."

Phoenix trained additional precinct patrol officers in crowd-control tactics after April's protests in downtown and near the Capitol, in which high-school students funneled unexpectedly into the area en mass.

Phoenix police Lt. Jeff Lazell, who oversees tactical-response teams through the Phoenix Police Downtown Operations Unit, said the goal was to prepare officers citywide in case of any unexpected violence that would force them into critical supporting roles downtown. Training included tactics on forming "skirmish-lines" to safety disperse unruly crowds.

"We trained about 1,200 officers in 10 days," Lazell said. "To coordinate that kind of training is an undertaking."

Command-center operations began at 6 a.m. Staff wore headsets tuned to a secure radio frequency for event communications and kept watch over video screens showing live feed from SB 1070 hot spots: the federal courthouse, Wells Fargo building, Cesar Chavez Plaza, Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail, and a building housing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Lt. Brian Lee, operations chief, said street activity was fairly quiet for much of the morning; most police activity was limited to assisting a group of 150 to 200 demonstrators safely wind their way through the streets.

"As far as expectations, it's really kind of hard to tell with this group," Lee said. "We have people coming in from out of state; we have other people that aren't part of our local community. We try to get as much information as we can on what their intentions are, but a lot of it is reactionary because we just don't know what they plan to do."

Radio traffic started to pick up about 9 a.m., as demonstrators began to swarm around First Avenue and Washington Street. Images of the group flashed from flat-screen TVs hanging overhead in the four corners of the room, each tuned to local and national news stations.

At 9:06 a.m., a voice crackled over the command radio channel.

"We've got 150 or so people at Washington," the voice said above a din of crowd activity. "Game plan is they're supposed to come over at 10 or 10:30. We'll have some issues at that time."

Command-center staff gathered around the live feed as, like clockwork, people began to flood Washington Street at 10 a.m., blocking in westbound vehicles.

At 10:15 a.m., another voice came over the command channel: "Be advised, we have initiated our first warnings" for pedestrians to get out of the street. "We're going to issue second warnings. In 10, we'll start issuing number ones," or arrests.

Twelve minutes later, another voice: "OK, we're going to go ahead, start making our first arrests. Arrest the gentleman in the gray hat."

Within seconds, live TV feed showed four officers closing in to cuff the man and lead him away to a white van. One by one, the command was issued to arrest four people who had been standing in a line next to the man in the gray hat.

And one by one, they were led away.

More arrests in Arizona immigration protests

Posted: Thursday, July 29, 2010 1:10 pm | Updated: 3:58 pm, Thu Jul 29, 2010.

Michelle Price, The Associated Press | 3 comments

Hundreds of people demonstrated against Arizona's new immigration law on Thursday despite a federal judge's last-minute decision to block the most controversial parts of the measure, and about 50 people were arrested.

At least 32 demonstrators were detained after refusing to stop blocking the entrance to the Maricopa County jail in downtown Phoenix. Sheriff's deputies in riot gear opened the large steel doors leading to the building and waded out into the crowd, hauling off those who didn't move.

Among those arrested at the jail was a photographer for The Arizona Republic, Dave Seibert. Sheriff's spokesman Brian Lee said he did not know why Seibert was taken into custody.

Earlier in the day, two dozen people were arrested outside the sheriff's offices and the federal courthouse. Former state Sen. Alfredo Gutierrez, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2002, was among them.

Demonstrators who had promised nonviolent civil disobedience followed through by peacefully confronting officers, sitting down in the street or crossing police lines.

Demonstrators first marched from the state Capitol at dawn, then held a prayer service at a local church before heading to the courthouse where Judge Susan Bolton issued her ruling on Wednesday.

Chanting "Sheriff Joe, we are here, we will not live in fear," marchers then headed to the office of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has made a crackdown on illegal immigration one of his signature issues. Arpaio plans to send hundreds of officers into a neighborhood later Thursday. Blocks from the office, they paused in front of a county building to rally.

Among the crowd was a drummer wearing a papier-mache Sheriff Joe head and dressed in prison garb.

Demonstrators had promised nonviolent civil disobedience, and it happened in front of the sheriff's office. Protest were planned later in front of Arpaio's famous "tent city jail," which he expanded in anticipation of a surge of arrests under the new law.

As they arrived at the sheriff's office, hundreds of people flooded into the street, blocking traffic and swarming around several cars caught in the demonstration. Police moved in to try to allow the drivers to leave, as the crowd shouted, "we will not comply."

Over the next hour, the crowd surged, chanted, yelled and some protesters forced the arrests. They then moved on the to jail.

In New York City, about 300 immigrant advocates gathered near the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan to protest the Arizona law.

Demonstrators, who held signs that said "Do I Look Illegal?" and chanted "We are America," declared partial victory after Wednesday's ruling.

"It's one step closer for us, but I think the fight is still ahead," said Adelfa Lugo, a 56-year-old Mexican-born Brooklyn resident who joined the protest. "If we don't fight this in Arizona, this anti-immigrant feeling will spread across the country."

New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, a first-generation Caribbean-American, told the crowd: "We won a slight battle in Arizona, we've got to continue with the war."

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