One Mother’s Suffering, Joe Arpaio’s Bigotry, and Stories of Racial Profiling by the MCSO


CELIA'S ANGUISH

On the surface, a Sunday morning at the home of Celia Alejandra Alvarez Herrera seems bright and joyous. Her four children scamper and play as she sits at the thick, wooden kitchen table. Her 1-year-old, Daniel, and her 6-year-old, Miguel, occasionally cling to her, seeking attention.

Her 9-year-old, Maria, glides around the house on sneaker skates. The eldest, Heidi, 11, disappears after dutifully sweeping the floor. All four are U.S.-born citizens.

Scenes from the struggle: Top left, Celia Alajandra Alvarez Herrera, with her son Miguel; top right, Maria del Carmen Garcia-Martinez (with broken arm); bottom left, Julio Mora with his father Julian; and, bottom right, inmates in Joe Arpaio's infamous "200 Mexican march."
Photos by Stephen Lemons
Scenes from the struggle: Top left, Celia Alajandra Alvarez Herrera, with her son Miguel; top right, Maria del Carmen Garcia-Martinez (with broken arm); bottom left, Julio Mora with his father Julian; and, bottom right, inmates in Joe Arpaio's infamous "200 Mexican march."

Details

For more stories in the "Are Your Papers in Order" series, visit this special report page.

The kitchen is airy and sunny, and a gray-and-white cockatiel chirps in a cage nearby. Herrera, 31, proudly shows off the work permit, and an Arizona ID she scored recently with the assistance of immigration attorney Kevin Gibbons, who ran unsuccessfully against notorious immigrant basher Russell Pearce in last year's GOP primary for the Arizona Senate.

"For most people, it's not a big deal," she said of the paperwork. "But for people like me, it's tremendous."

She no longer has to use her alias, Francisca Perez Mendoza, to obtain work, as she did at the Phoenix landscaping company H.M.I. before that county contractor was raided on February 11. She was arrested that day with about 60 co-workers.

But she says it's too scary to venture back into the work force. She's been so traumatized by her arrest and her time in MCSO custody that she sees a counselor through a local church and takes anti-anxiety medication. That's along with medication for a stomach ailment caused by pain meds she takes for the soreness in her jaw. The jaw she says was busted by a ski-masked MCSO deputy.

As you may recall from an item that I wrote about Herrera in my Feathered Bastard blog in April, before she was released from Estrella Jail, Herrera says she had just clocked in at H.M.I. when she learned that a Sheriff's Office raid was under way. As MCSO SWAT team members flooded the premises, Herrera hid underneath a bed in a trailer on the property. She was soon located by a deputy, who jerked her up and slammed her against a wall, injuring her jaw.

It wasn't her only injury. While she was getting processed, she saw her brother-in-law in line and tried to speak with him. Another deputy hit her forcefully with the metal part of a clipboard, supposedly for speaking to her relative. Her upper arm was bruised for weeks. Both deputies who assaulted her wore black ski masks, she claims.

It took her three weeks to see a healthcare provider in jail. Her jaw was in so much pain she could barely lie down to sleep. The provider prescribed ibuprofen for her jaw; for her arm, she got Preparation H to decrease the swelling. She had to pay for the ibuprofen. It was $10 for pack of about 15. The infirmary also took X-rays.

Once she was released, she saw an oral surgeon, Dr. Jack Buhrow, who treated her for a detached meniscus in her jaw. The meniscus is a bit of cartilage and muscle in the joint of the jaw that allows it to open and slide normally. Buhrow told me that an X-ray would not allow for a diagnosis. Rather, a diagnosis for a detached meniscus would normally come from observation and listening to the patient.

Buhrow performed a procedure on Herrera called a lavage, which Herrera says has helped her, though she still suffers soreness when she opens her mouth wide or laughs. Buhrow confirmed that, for some patients, the injury can be very painful. He also noted that ibuprofen would be "the initial drug of choice." Though keep in mind, Herrera went three weeks without even that.

Asked whether the injury could be consistent with Herrera's account of being flung against a wall, Buhrow said, "Oh, certainly."

But Herrera suffered more than physical injuries during her incarceration. As she was brought into custody, she was forced to strip and endure a cavity search as a male detention officer looked on. A male co-worker was also in the room with her, having the same thing done to him. They avoided each other's eyes during the process.

Herrera, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was wearing Mormon undergarments beneath her clothes when she was told to strip.

"I told them that I can't take these off; it's really important for my religion," recalled Herrera. "They said, 'It's not important. You have to take them off.' They said, 'If you don't take it off immediately, we're going to put you in the hole, in solitary.'"

Herrera reluctantly complied. While in Estrella, the guards were cruel and vulgar, calling the women housed there "prostitutes" and "bitches." Once, Herrera fell asleep while reading a Bible. It slipped out of her hand and onto the ground as she napped. She awoke to watch a guard confiscate the holy book and trash it.

The worst part of her confinement was the separation from her children. She'd still been nursing her youngest boy when she was arrested. Her husband and children relied on the help of their Mormon congregation to bring them food and help with childcare.

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22 comments
Matt
Matt

Why was this lady let out of jail. she was using another identity to obtain her job. The whole pack, her and her illegitimate children, should be shipped back to mexico where they belong. If the children are U.S. citizens, they can return when they are 18, or stay with "legal" relatives. Health services, education, public housing, and all of the other social services are for "legal citizens" and not ment for any one else.

FreedomFighter
FreedomFighter

To the person who made the DUI comment: If Jeff did get his jaw busted, he would be perfectly in his rights to cry and to sue, because he is a citizen of this country! You have no right to complain, much less SUE the government if you never should have been here in the first place! Remember the US citizen who got flogged in the Philippines for graffiti??? If you commit crimes (i.e. immigration violation) in this country, you'd better not even THINK about complaining. Maybe I'll go piss on the sidewalk in Russia then complain when the Russian cop beats the hell out of me. We'll see how far I get.

patricia jenske
patricia jenske

My point earlier had to do with the simple fact that for whatever reason a human being is going to jail for, that abuse and neglect are things known to happen in Joe's jail. As far as cleaning up the illegal aliens in Arizona, great, get the job done (if you can) but it doesn't mean that people should be abused in the process.

Chris Long
Chris Long

Lemons' stories:

Suffering...Racism...Injustice...profiling...

I am reminded of Gogol and Dostoevsky...

A dark, forbidding landscape and a noir atmosphere, populated by anthropomorphic types that are little more than victims.

For lemons, it sure a cruel place, this country we live in...

So, like, last time I was in May-he-co cops hassled us and we gave them each five bucks...what do you call that ?

Joe's got to go
Joe's got to go

Hank Hill, maybe you need to brush up on your reading comprehension. You have part of it right, she is here legally NOW. At the time most of the events in the story occured she was here illegaly. "She no longer has to use her alias, Francisca Perez Mendoza, to obtain work, as she did at the Phoenix landscaping company H.M.I. before that county contractor was raided on February 11. She was arrested that day with about 60 co-workers."I don't agree with Joe on a lot of things including the way he handles illegal aliens but, I do agree they are here illegaly and should be arrested. I am taking care of my two grandchildren who were not my responsibilty until last year. We have a income just over poverty level and are barely making ends meet(remember that I based my bills and lifestyle depending on just myself to support until last year)You would be amazed what we do not qualify for that illegal aliens do. The preschool that they did qualify for (because of the kids traumatic childhood) has 4 students that use english as a primary language the other 14 students are spanish only. It just burns me up to see some families who qualify for food stamps (all races) using them for steak, seafood, junk food when we are struggling to just have the basics.Social programs only work when people that can survive without assistance actually do, instead of taking advantage of the system so they don't need to work as hard.It all seems free for the taking to some people so they take and take and never give back.I'm also tired of explaining that I am not agaist brown people only the illegal people. My daughter is multi-racial and so are my grandkids. Where is the bigotry in that?

Corena
Corena

I was born and raised in Arizona, and it truly bothers me that we are hearing all these things about immigration. I must tell you that I am a single parent of 2 children that I work everyday to support, My income doesn't match that of a family of 3 I am below poverty. I pay state and federal taxes, and I am White. I go to DES office for help, Not happening because they have too many others getting what I have paid taxes on every year, I have worked for 22 years, and now that I need help I can't get it but yet I pay for children that are born of illegal immigrants. My child are more important to me they need help too. I have had my son's Identity stolen. You say in this article that she didn't work under her real name, shame on you for even printing this. That means she was not ever paying taxes, and who foot the bill for the damages she suffered? Because before she got her green card she was getting free medical under another name. Why is she not in prison for the fraud she was using another name that is at least 2 years in prison. Why is there a double standard too all this. I have over 90,000 owed to me in Child support but with the workers being over worked they do not work my case. Yet I stand in a grocery store line and watch Mexicans pull out the food stamp card with a whole cart of groceries, and me planning 2 weeks on the 60.00 that I can spare from my earnings. I am tired of hearing about this. If you are not here legally they you need to leave. File the proper papers and then let the government decide if you should be here. All the rape, murders, and drugs, but your relative can run to mexico to not get prosecuted. Too bad I don't have the money to be president. I would make it so that anyone here illegally would be caught shipped over seas to the war, made to fight there for 2 years then come back, and pay taxes like everyone else. I am tired of seeing all these men fighting in the war loosing their lives, and someone else reaping the rewards of a country the don't call their own.

Hank Hill
Hank Hill

I'm fascinated at how many stupid people have access to the internet. You zombies obviously didn't read the article or your reading comprehension sucks so bad you don't understand it.

Read the article, sound out the words if you have to. These are stories about people, humans, who either have the legal right to be in the US or have it now. "What don't you understand about legal?!"

There is no question in my mind that this is acceptable to you zombies only because the victims are brown.

Keep up the great work Bird. No one else is covering this stuff like you and the New Times. Hopefully Obama will hear what's happening and have the fortitude to do something about it soon.

patricia jenske
patricia jenske

Once again I am not surprised by the constant abuse of human beings by MCSO. Why anyone would want to be employed by MCSO is beyond me. Joe and his pack are nothing but a bunch of bullies!!!!!!

bevan suggs
bevan suggs

Wow, is it possible to do a more Liberal piece. What a joke of a column. It is so liberal bias, it difficult to believe anything in it. Do other people believe this propoganda??

Richard
Richard

what can mexico do for you , how would the law react to you in their country , they would give you one second of their time and lock you up for crying , Mr Joe is the only one who can seem to get things done , just read the court casesin phoenix and you will see the job joe does their is a web page with the crime and arrest , and the sentence

Joe's got to go
Joe's got to go

Gingerkid- Reread the story, she's legal now but not when she was arrested. She was using an alias and illegal before getting aid after the arrest.

GingerKid
GingerKid

Wow!! To you sad fools who are commenting on the merits of Joe's arresting of illegals, this story only contains incidents of LEGAL residents!!! These were US citizens and legal alien residents. They did it as you put it, "the right way", and were still abused by this hatemongering powercrazed nutbag! He is breaking the law with his evil games (see 42 million in lawsuits), and if the Feds ever grow a pair Joe will pay like the dog he his!

kimjeffsuck
kimjeffsuck

Kim,"I do not really believe this could be an accurate account.. It has been so long since the incident I question the validity of the accusation."

Kim, Lemons wrote about this lady for the first time in April, you dumbass. Checkit:

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.c...

Hello! Do you think the Doctor is making it up too? Maybe you should give him a call and tell him he's lying.

As for Jeff, you're an asshole. What would happen if you were arrested for DUI and the deputy busted your jaw? What if you got no treatment for 3 friggin weeks? Big man. We all know you'd be crying like a little kid. And you'd be suing. You make me sick.

dr alan truelove
dr alan truelove

Just completed 6 mo working in AZ, spending much time in Phoenix. The comments of old people (eg in Doctor's offices) are uniform-they would like to help Illegals, and Mexican children in AZ schools, in one way - OUT!Sheriff Joe is to be congratulated. If Obama chickens out Oct 16- then, Joe, bus these Illegals down to Nogales & turn them over to the BP. We will support you. A busted tail-light is a 1-way ticket home.

Jeremy
Jeremy

I would much rather pay for a few petty lawsuits that pay the welfare for all of the illegals. 4 anchor babies and now she cant work cause she is traumatized? She is lazy and looking for a buck. These scumbags should have no rights as far as I am concerned. If they take a beating while resisting arrest than they shouldnt have resisted. They shouldnt have been in the country in the first place.

kim
kim

I do not really believe this could be an accurate account.. It has been so long since the incident I question the validity of the accusation. I may have bought into it three or four months ago, but for this to come out like this.. just doesn't add up. I do not believe in being overly rough with anyone for no reason, I do like the Sheriff's sweeps. I think that we will find out he is getting more than just Mexican illegals out of here. The word Illegal expresses it's self.. If it is illegal, it should be addressed, We have laws for a reason. If we start excepting breaking the law, we are in a world of hurt. There are ways to do it the right way.. The safe way. I know families who came here the right way, through the process. They are very offended that the ones here illegally are complaining about it at all.I do not focus on Mexican immirgrants, I focus on anyone illegal. Talaban are here, you may not think they are, but anyone who researches it will find we have terrorists here illegally right now. We need to secure our borders and weed out all of those here illegally.. For the safety of our families and our country.If we keep turning a blind eye to the wrongs, we will surely reap what we sow. Use our heads and open our eyes. I stand behind Sheriff Joe, he is the only one doing anything. I will again say I do not agree with excessive force unless it is absolutely a must. But not sure how accurate this story is, does not add up in my opinion. Why would someone who was not doing anything absolutely wrong Hide?? Is evading the law now exceptable and news worthy of sympathy? Each of us must decide our own opinions. This is just mine.

Phred
Phred

"One for those who are brown who might be illegal [sic] and one for everybody else." Except that a large number of people in the country without authorization are some of the everybody elses - not brown. It is very possible to be undocumented in this country and not brown. It is also much easier for them to fly below the radar. Wonder what would happen if the Sheriff arrested one of them and tried to take them to the border with Mexico himself.

Coz
Coz

Here is a new video. It contains new testimony few have ever seen documenting Arpaio's 287g abuses in the jails as well as racial profiling.

Please watch and share with your freinds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Great job Dennis Gilman !

David
David

Some countries are harder to get citizenship and others are easier (Switzerland is very difficult). Some countries in Europe will grant citizenship if your parent or grandparent was born there. Not all of the undocumented immigrants are from Mexico (some come from Central America). I am amazed at how the Klan likes to make comments here. I am also amazed at how many nativists like to say to throw them all out (Arizona was a Mexican territory). Amazing how some of the nativists will go to church on Sunday, here about Jesus (Matt 6:1-4, Matt 7:1-6, Matt 25:31-46) and then condemn undocumented immigrants. Further, they will look at anyone who is not white and question whether that person is here legally (not realizing that the person's family could have lived here legally for 200 years).

jeff
jeff

OMG i feel so bad for these people!!! Not here are these Illegals in this country sucking the life out of our healthcare and public services,and you want us to feel sorry for them,I dont think so.They should go back where they came from its not our problem she crossed over and had 4 children at our cost for the medical bills to deliver them,The new times ought to be ashamed for even commenting on this injustice to the american people

Joe's got to go
Joe's got to go

Joe and his henchmen need to disappear. I just hope they take the illegal aliens with them. You don't need to approve of Joe and his methods to disapprove of illegal immigrants. Legal immigrants are fine, hell all of our families were once (disclaimer for Native Americans). If our families had to become citizens legally, why shouldn't the new immigrants need to abide by the same rules? Before you say our requirements are too tough take a look at the requirements of other countries and their penalties for illegal entry.

 
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