"In all honesty, I cannot attest to anything," Hueston said when asked about the warrant.

Hueston placed the responsibility on Chief Thomas, who was in charge of directing the university's police operation on Mount Graham the day Hodges was arrested.

Moments after Hueston was interviewed, however, Thomas gave New Times a contradictory explanation for the warrant's sudden resurrection. Thomas claimed that, before leaving Tucson for Mount Graham, he learned of the warrant from Hueston--that is, from the same assistant police chief who, minutes earlier, had claimed to know nothing.

"He [Hueston] came to me and said we have a warrant for Dave Hodges, and he said it was confirmed," Thomas said.

Thomas said Hueston gave the warrant to a lower-level UofA officer, who delivered a copy of it to DPS officers, who arrested Hodges.

Paul Gattone, a Tucson attorney representing Hodges, said the UofA police department--and especially Hueston--had to know the warrant was attached to charges that had been dismissed.

"Hueston was in the courtroom," Gattone says. "He knew those charges were dismissed. No one is stupid enough to believe the warrant was in effect when the charges were dismissed."
Like Silver, Hodges believes he was the victim of a wrongful arrest. "It was complete harassment and a civil rights infringement," he claims.

But the ordeal may also have worked in his favor.
The warrant finally was quashed when Hodges appeared for trial on the new charges relating to the October 1992 demonstration.

Hodges told Pima County Justice Court Judge Robert Donfeld of his encounter with UofA police over the previous weekend. The story seemed to have an impact, Hodges said. The men each received two years of unsupervised probation and a 30-day suspended jail sentence, rather than the six months' confinement sought by the County Attorney's Office.

"There was great irony in the fact that they [UofA police] tried to nail me this weekend," Hodges said after the trial. "But it probably was responsible for us not getting jail time, because we were able to show the judge how the university is out of control."
@body:While videotapes, audio tapes, public records and lawsuits have shed some light on the university's questionable police tactics, it may be more difficult to break into an inner sanctum where top officials have set policies for the telescope project.

Every week for at least the last six years, a powerful group of university employees and outside consultants has gathered in the regents' conference room on the seventh floor of the university administration building to discuss all aspects of construction, government relations, operations and public relations relating to the observatory project.

Michael Cusanovich, UofA vice president for research, said the Mount Graham External Affairs Task Force, which meets every Tuesday, is strictly a forum for the exchange of information. Cusanovich, who set up the task force, said it doesn't take votes, and no formal decisions are made.

While Silver, Witzeman and other opponents consider Cusanovich's task force a steering committee for many decisions on the telescope project, Cusanovich takes a much milder view.

"It's not particularly insidious," he said. "We just talk."
The committee talks a lot.
And the design of the committee keeps it from falling under public review.

"It's not subject to the open-meeting law," said Tom Thompson, a university attorney and task-force member.

While agenda were once prepared for the meetings, that practice was dropped several years ago. No one takes notes of discussions at the meeting. There is no secretary. No minutes. And only on occasion are documents exchanged, Cusanovich says.

Yet consensus is frequently reached at the meetings on what actions should be taken, Cusanovich said. The task force frequently discusses what opponents of the project are up to and discusses appropriate responses, Cusanovich said. For example, Cusanovich said, he might direct a member of the task force to write an opinion column for a newspaper.

While the task force may discuss upcoming demonstrations, or responses to past protests, Cusanovich said the group, which includes Emerine, does not discuss police tactics or arrest policies.

When asked last Friday whether he has reason to believe that anyone on the task force is working with the police on arrests, Cusanovich was adamant in his response.

"Absolutely not," he said.
University attorney Thompson also objected strongly to the suggestion that the university's public relations department would point someone out for arrest.

"That's Robin Silver's allegation, and it's pure bullshit," Thompson said. He said UofA police, for whom he provides legal advice, don't take their orders "from anybody over at Steve's [Emerine's] office."
Emerine may not be the only person to be surprised by Crosby's videotape.

1: Crushing opposition to a prestigious telescope project.
A) Meet secretly for years without keeping notes.
B) Run covert investigations of political groups.
C) Arrest activists you dislike.
D) Deny everything.
E) Admit nothing.

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