There, UofA police had the Arizona Department of Public Safety arrest Hodges on a warrant related to charges that campus police had dismissed months earlier. When New Times asked UofA police officials about Hodges' arrest, it got conflicting--in fact, mutually exclusive--explanations from police officials.

Last year, protesters unmasked an undercover police detective who had infiltrated their ranks, and who apparently was working in conjunction with university administrators.

And unusual police tactics have been accompanied by unusual behavior at the administrative level. The entire Mount Graham project is overseen by a high-level university committee that has met weekly for more than six years.

In response to a New Times public records request, university officials claim that group--the Mount Graham External Affairs Task Force--has kept no minutes or agenda for its meetings, even though agenda and other paperwork were, at times, distributed. The group's discussions, decisions, reports and work, therefore, remain secret.

"It's like the minutes of the Mafia," says Bob Witzeman, a longtime telescope opponent and member of the Maricopa Audubon Society. "Nobody knows when they meet and what their records say."
@body:Eleven months after the Columbus Day demonstration that led to his arrest, Silver met Emerine once again. This time, the meeting occurred in a room full of lawyers, who had gathered to hear Emerine's sworn deposition, taken as part of a wrongful-arrest lawsuit Silver filed against the state, UofA, Emerine and others.

As he had in repeated interviews with the press since the Columbus Day incident, Emerine denied, this time under oath, ever pointing out Silver for arrest.

"That's not a job that falls under my duties, and it's not something that I do," Emerine said last September 22 when asked if he fingered Silver for arrest.

"I'm in the public information business," Emerine continued. "I'm not a cop."
Emerine, a former award-winning reporter for the Arizona Daily Star who served as Pima County Assessor from 1973 until 1980, may not carry a badge. But Silver said he can't understand why police arrested him immediately after Emerine pointed--unless police were responding to Emerine's cue.

Silver is convinced Emerine was following instructions from higher-ranking university officials to have him arrested. For Silver, the reason is easy to discern: At the time of his arrest, he and others were pressuring the university to release an internal audit that proved embarrassing to the telescope project.

"We already had established that the biology the project was based on was fraudulent," Silver said, referring to controversial studies conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dealing with the impact of the telescopes on the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel.

"And we were getting close to exposing the fact that they had an explicit plan to destroy the culture of traditional Indian people, as well as exposing the fact that the financing plan for the telescope project was illegal," Silver said.

The arrest, Silver believes, was an attempt by the university to discourage him from pressing his requests for public documents. He would later obtain those documents, after making repeated public records requests and ultimately obtaining a court order.

The documents outlined a university plan to isolate San Carlos Apaches opposed to the telescope project. The records also revealed concerns by an outside auditor that the funding mechanism for the $60 million main telescope might be illegal.

"Why else would a public institution knowingly and willfully violate a person's civil rights, except to send a message?" Silver asked.

@body:UofA Police Chief Mike Thomas, who was not present at the Columbus Day demonstration, said neither Emerine nor anyone else in the UofA public affairs department has the authority to direct university police.

"University relations doesn't tell university police who can or can't be arrested," Thomas said in an interview.

Thomas said university police must have a valid reason before they arrest someone.

"If somebody stands over there and signals you to arrest this person, that officer has to know he has probable cause," Thomas explained. "You have to have an observation of a crime or knowledge of an existing warrant. You just can't simply go out and arrest somebody."
At the Columbus Day demonstration, Thomas said, demonstrators were given a reasonable time to leave the lobby. After the warning to disperse was given, anyone who remained was violating the law.

Once a decision is made to arrest protesters, Thomas said, the university will typically go after the leaders of a demonstration.

"If you take out the leaders, then typically the followers don't know what to do," Thomas said. "That's a valid, legitimate tactic."
At the time of Silver's arrest, however, he was not actively participating in the demonstration, videotapes reviewed by New Times show. Silver was among a dozen other photographers, reporters and television news stations covering the event. Emerine admitted in his deposition that he didn't see Silver doing anything other than taking photographs. Yet Emerine said he "assumed" Silver was one of the organizers of the event.

Silver contends he never heard the order to disperse, because he was across the room from officers who made the announcement. Sloan Haywood, a witness who saw police arrest Silver, said there was "no warning" when officers came out of the blue and grabbed Silver.

« Previous Page
Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Phoenix Concert Tickets