Welcome to the Club

Barrio "Fight Back" leaders turn sights on police, New Times

Assistant Phoenix police chief Silverio Ontiveros spoke in defense of the injunctions -- and of the New Times coverage.

"As the Phoenix Police Department, we don't want to see any of these kids going to prison," the chief said. "That's why we are trying to work on this like a parent, like a family. We know what we have done in the past hasn't worked. . . . That's why we decided we needed to come up with the injunctions, to get them to wake up. I don't want to see another kid, I don't care what color the kid is, I don't want to see anybody else dead."

But earlier in the meeting, Fight Back's Art Luera made it clear that he's fighting back against the cops, not the gangs. He drew applause when he compared the injunction against LCM to "what happened in the 1920s during Nazi Germany, and that's the taking of civil rights."

An unidentified woman speaks during the neighborhood meeting.
Paolo Vescia
An unidentified woman speaks during the neighborhood meeting.
Central City Precinct Commander Joe Klima makes a point.
Paolo Vescia
Central City Precinct Commander Joe Klima makes a point.

Added Fight Back committee co-chairman Rick Cortez, "Most of the [injunction requirements] are basically just morals, things that we tell our kids, [such as] 'Come in at a certain time.' . . . We also tell them, 'Don't carry guns.' We also tell them, 'Don't be shooting guns up in the air.' A lot of these injunctions are just basically the same thing we as parents tell our kids."

Several people who attended also sat in Judge Talamante's courtroom on the morning of October 21, as the injunction hearing continued. Some snickered as City of Phoenix neighborhood preservation inspector Londa Martin-Fuduloff spoke of the trepidation that residents have expressed over LCM's sway.

"What I have heard from people in that neighborhood is they're very fearful," Martin-Fuduloff testified. "They feel there are spies that come to the meetings."

City attorneys projected photographic images of the 14 LCM members listed in the injunction. Martin-Fuduloff said she recognized about half of the 14, and also recalled several of their nicknames, which she'd seen in graffiti.

"I thought they [the names] were cute," she testified, referring to monikers such as "Scooby," "Slammer" and "Baby Joe."

City attorney Phil Haggerty asked Martin-Fuduloff if she'd replicate the gang hand signs that she said young men have flashed at her in the neighborhood.

"No," she said. "I'm not that talented."

One of the 14 served with the injunction -- Tomas "Quati" Padilla -- asked Martin-Fuduloff, "What was I doing there?" He was referring to her testimony about seeing several LCM members, including Padilla, standing on a street corner.

"Just hanging out," she answered.

"Was I doing anything wrong?"


(Police records indicate that Padilla has told them five times that he's a member of LCM. A detective asked him in an encounter last March how he'd joined the gang. "I was born and raised," they quoted him as saying.)

Judge Talamante temporarily halted testimony on October 21 at the request of a lawyer just hired by two of the 14 injunction subjects. The attorney, Stephen Montoya, said he needed more time to prepare a defense.

Montoya told the judge "the Phoenix Police Department is alive and well, as we all know," and should be able to "continue to protect our neighborhoods" until Talamante rules.

Contact John Dougherty at his online address: jdougherty@newtimes.com

Contact Paul Rubin at his online address: prubin@newtimes.com

Read more stories in the Hard Core series.

« Previous Page
My Voice Nation Help
Phoenix Concert Tickets