By Monica Alonzo
By Stephen Lemons
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Dulce Paloma Baltazar Pedraza
By Ray Stern
By Pete Kotz
By Monica Alonzo
By New Times
But in the joint press conference she held with Arpaio on her last day in office before hitting the campaign trail, Napolitano dismissed the Washington investigation and lawsuit as a "technicality" and a "lawyer's paper."
Sheriff Arpaio, taking his cue from Napolitano's bootlicking posture, ridiculed the lawsuit and the federal investigation, saying that nothing would change in his jails because nothing was wrong.
Since then Napolitano has claimed that the eventual settlement with the sheriff has served as a model around the country for jail reform. Which is almost as funny as it is tragic.
Earlier this month, Sheriff Arpaio appeared on the Today show with Amnesty International's U.S. director, William Schulz. The human-rights organization has been highly critical of the abuses within the sheriff's jail.
Pointing out that Arpaio's jailers had used the restraint chair 600 times in a six-month period while the entire state of Utah had resorted to the primitive device on only three occasions, Schulz said the sheriff had signed an order with the federal authorities agreeing to stop using the chair and stun guns as punishments.
A belligerent Arpaio shot back, "We're still using the restraint chairs, and we're still using stun-gun devices."
You can see why Napolitano is so proud of this model agreement with Sheriff Arpaio.
Janet Napolitano may pull upon the heartstrings of women and progressives because of her gender, but she has proven herself as craven as any man in the pursuit of elective office.
Her go-along to get-along attitude with the barbaric Arpaio is no more disgusting than her disappearance following the outrageous 1997 roundup, intimidation and harassment of brown-skinned people by law enforcement in the East Valley.
Chandler's city fathers have a problem. They have a multimillion-dollar plan to gentrify their dilapidated downtown. But the real estate is ringed by barrios. The redevelopment scheme does not incorporate the Hispanic culture that currently defines the area.
What to do?
City officials claim there is no link between their plans for urban renewal and last year's reign of terror. But don't tell that to residents of Chandler, some of whom were detained repeatedly during a four-day crackdown a year ago July.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. There go the media again. The very idea of suggesting that a town would target Latinos for removal to make downtown safe for yuppies . . . as if!
But there it is on page 30 of Attorney General Grant Woods' investigative report on the roundup.
". . . the city's focus was to eliminate the problems of aging neighborhoods by improving property maintenance and conducting a general clean up. . . . By the spring of 1997 the focus expanded to include the arrest and deportation of illegal aliens in zones targeted by the city of Chandler for redevelopment."
Just pick up that litter, then get rid of those unsightly wetbacks.
Chandler police alone, and in conjunction with federal Border Patrol agents, stopped, interrogated and arrested several hundred Hispanics in an unconstitutional attempt to run illegal aliens to ground. The cops rousted any Latino they could get their mitts on, including citizens of the United States.
Two weeks later, on August 13, police officials wrote a memorandum to city officials explaining the purge. And covering their behinds.
". . . Border Patrol agents were paired on bicycles with Chandler Police Department bike officers and told to patrol the downtown area of the City. Officers were instructed their contacts should be cordial and professional, as is the norm for Chandler officers. Further, the Border Patrol agent was to be the initiating contact if Border Patrol standard operating procedures were used.
"Chandler officers, who were working in the area and not paired directly with a Border Patrol Agent, were told not to stop individuals purely for immigration purposes and to only stop and contact people for 'cause' (i.e. traffic violations, criminal violations and other types of suspicious activity)."
Here are examples of "the suspicious activity" as cited in Montoya's lawsuit.
"On July 29, 1997, at approximately 11:00 p.m. . . . two Chandler Police officers and several Border Patrol Agents knocked on Mr. (Gerado) Ruiz's door. When Mr. Ruiz answered the door, the Chandler Police Officers entered his home without his permission . . . and searched the premises. . . . After Mr. Ruiz produced proof of his lawful residency, the Police woke up Mr. Ruiz's two children, both of whom are United States citizens."
The cops interrogated the kids regarding their immigration status.
"At approximately 3:00 a.m. . . . Chandler Police officers came to Mr. (Benito) Martinez's apartment and knocked on the door. Mr. Martinez's family was asleep and his wife answered the door. The Officers then proceeded to enter Mr. Martinez's home without permission and without a warrant. . . . For the ostensible purpose of finding a minor child involved in a custody dispute . . . the officers proceeded to search Mr. Martinez's home. . . . The Officers also asked Mr. Martinez and his wife to show them their immigration papers. After Mr. and Mrs. Martinez produced the documents, the Officers left."
Eliseo Correa was also guilty of suspicious activity.
"On July 29, 1997, at approximately 7:30 p.m., Mr. Correa and his cousin went to buy sodas at the Circle K. . . . Before they had a chance to go inside the store, a Chandler Police Officer riding a bicycle ordered Mr. Correa and his cousin to produce immigration documents proving that they were lawfully residing in the United States."