Tuned In: The MCSO Pointed Guns at Siblings, Both U.S. Citizens, After a Deputy’s Attention Was Drawn to Them by Spanish-Language Music Blaring from Their Car

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Editor's note: This is one of a group of individual accounts of racial profiling by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's forces. The next personal story will appear on our Web site Wednesday night, December 16.


Manuel Nieto Jr. and his sister Velia Meraz, key plaintiffs in the ACLU's racial-profiling lawsuit filed last year against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, have evidence on their side.

Their father, Manuel Nieto Sr., witnessed his adult children getting accosted in front of his north Phoenix auto-repair business. And 911 calls made by the pair to report the alleged harassment tip the scale in their favor.

A lack of evidence by the MCSO is also on their side: Despite solid proof that some kind of tense traffic stop occurred between the pair and sheriff's deputies — in the midst of one of their infamous immigrant sweeps — amazingly the Sheriff's Office claims it has no record of the incident.

Despite shady backgrounds, the siblings have a great claim.

Nieto Jr. spent three years in prison for burglary. He'd been released the month before. The divorced Meraz was struggling to raise three children. When her ex-husband stopped making child-support payments in 2005, she betrayed her employers at the Catholic Social Services center and began stealing thousands of dollars in payments that should have gone to illegal immigrants. In 2006, she served six months in jail for the crime.

Yet the brother and sister were on the right track in March 2008, working for their father's business, Manuel's Auto Repair, 14849 North Cave Creek Road. Just as they do today, Nieto Jr. helped fix cars and Meraz was the office assistant.

In the late afternoon of March 28, after working all day, the pair decided to drive over to the Quick Stop & Gas convenience store a few blocks away for soft drinks and cigarettes.

It was Spanish-language music that seemed to have sparked the events that followed, according to interviews and the ACLU complaint.

The siblings pulled into parking place in front of the store, the van's windows rolled down on the nice, spring day. Meraz was singing loudly along with a Spanish tune on the radio.

Near the gas pumps, a sheriff's deputy was cuffing a couple of Hispanic men. Though the siblings didn't know it, Sheriff Joe Arpaio had ordered one of his "crime sweeps" that day, and deputies were patrolling the area looking for Mexicans. Now, the official line from the Sheriff's Office is that no racial profiling occurs during these sweeps. But that concept is belied by Arpaio's anti-illegal-immigrant rhetoric and heavy use of deputies cross-trained by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau during the sweeps.

The sheriff's deputy busting the men at the gas pumps was Alberto Armendiaz, who was certified at the time under ICE's 287(g) program.

When Armendiaz saw Nieto Jr. and Meraz park and heard the music they were blaring, the siblings say, he yelled at them that they should leave the area.

Meraz asked him why they should leave, since they weren't doing anything wrong. The deputy then walked over to the van and told them that if they didn't do what he said, he'd arrest them for disorderly conduct. While New Times was unable to obtain the deputy's side of the story, the pair's version up to this point hardly seems out of character for one of Arpaio's employees.

Meraz got the deputy's badge number and name, and the pair drove off. As they were pulling out of the parking lot, though, they saw Armendariz apparently calling for backup on his radio. They also say they saw Armendariz motion to a motorcycle office cruising down Cave Creek Road, directing him to follow the pair.

Within moments, three other sheriff's vehicles swarmed the pair as they approached their father's business.

As they pulled into the parking lot, Nieto Jr., indignant over what he perceived as harassment, called 911. New Times reviewed several 911 calls made by Nieto Jr.

"Yes, we do have an emergency!" he yelled into the phone. "Yeah, there's an officer shouting . . . But he's harassing me, yelling at me!"

Sirens can be heard in the background. Nieto Jr. tells the deputies he has 911 on the phone.

"I don't care who you have," a gruff voice can be heard answering him.

The cell phone fell to the ground, where it picked up the cacophony of the brief standoff. Nieto Jr. claims one of the deputies threw it to the ground before slapping handcuffs on him.

Meraz told New Times recently that deputies aimed guns at her and her brother during the stop.

"They were pointing it at me, telling me to come out with my hands up," Meraz says. "It's a horrible experience that I would not wish upon anyone. It's the worst feeling ever."

Customers from the auto-repair business came out to see what was going on and, according to the siblings, were told to leave or face arrest.

Manuel Nieto Sr. said in an interview with New Times that when he emerged from his shop, deputies screamed at him to go back inside. Nieto Sr. says he screamed right back, "No! This is my place. I'm a U.S. citizen, and those are my children, and they're citizens."

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10 comments
El Panzon
El Panzon

Joe has blood in his hands, and if you fear God or the universal force, or whatever you believe in; you will stop supporting this murderer because YOU ALSO are going to have blood in your hands. How many fucking cops you need to get a Mexican with no weapons under control?? I was almost tempted to call them pigs, but even that is inappropriate, because even the pigs don't deserve to be compare to these scum.YES I"M FUCKING MAD!!!

Nikodisias Papalapsuslos
Nikodisias Papalapsuslos

YES , WE CAN...YES , WE CAN...WE WILL WIN IN WAR ON TERROR (30 whities or what are terrorists will never come back alive...thank you lord....aaamen).

What do you mean tragedy! It was just a birthday present for planet apes president !!! That's all ! Feels great to flip hamburgers and hip hop atop of good news...makes you feel vibrant and energized !!!

ARIZONA = UTOYA = GOVERNMENT‘S "AFTERLIFE" CASH & $$ FLASH MOB (there was no shooting in Utoya or Arizona, but tear gas and theater instead on faces of multiculturalism maniacs..your guilt or blame and shame weapon against us and our families in our own countries atop of forceful unemployment during so called "ECONOMIC CRISES" during which third world foreigners are allowed to rape, kill, and still is nothing else but fast way to early retirements for government related criminals/ terrorists...$$$ extra bonuses, and newly issued state identities while calling you a terrorists) !!! http://stateofterror.blogspot.... or http://stateofterror.wordpress...

OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH or USA = SOVIET UNION http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.c... or http://avsecbostjan.wordpress.... Whitie is fighting war on terrorism just to come home and be pronounced as terrorist...turned in Timothy, jobless, homeless ...YESSS, WE CAN...YESSS, WE CAN...GABBY OPENED HER EYES (Obaminator’s psychotic speech in Tucson = failed “Apocalypse Now“)

WAKE-UP !!! WAKE UP PEOPLE BEFORE IT GETS ALL TO LATE ON PLANET APES !!! TEARS WON'T DO YOU ANY GOOD !!! AS BUSH STATED "THAT'S WHAT THEY ARE PAID FOR"(to die ) !!

EVEN IF IRAQ WOULD HAVE BEEN WAR FOR OIL ONLY, VETERANS WOULDN'T NEVER EVER HAVE TO BE HOMELESS PEOPLE THE WAY THEY ARE AND NOR WOULD OUR PEOPLE HAVE TO DIE ALLOVER THE PLACE THE WAY THEY DO TO VERY TODAY(never ending “war on terror” story). BECAUSE EVEN IF WAR WAS FOR THE SAKE OF MONEY, MONEY SHOULD BE USED FOR AMERICAN CITIZENS AND NOT WHAT THE CASE IS OR AGAINST WHITES(to destroy us allover the world) !!! You don't really proof for 911, just put your sht together in your heads...THIS IS PLENTY ENOUGH TO HAVE O(B)SAMA INDICTED FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE AMERICAN HUMANITY TOGETHER WITH HIS ZIONIST MASTERS) !!!

Don't worry O(s)bama, you have just saved USA what is lots of Dollars in your DEBT DEALS as those best of America or Navy Seals would also grew older and then you already know how it goes...DEAD & ILL = DEBT DEAL !!!

HOW MUCH FURTHER ARE WE WILLING TO GO IN ORDER TO PLEASE VERY SAME PEOPLE WHO DENY US EVEN THE RIGHT TO EXISTENCE(what is to you country without laws or lawless country in respect to your personal rights, but the one that in contrast to your denied basic human rights recognizes you extremely liable when payments are due) !!?

IS IT INDEPENDENCE THAT WE CELEBRATE OR DEPENDENCE (what are your credit card bills or alimony saying about it) !!? HOW IS YOUR DIABETES AND LOST MARRIAGES !!? FORECLOSURES AND JOB SEARCH !!? THAT IS THE QUESTION TO BE OR NOT TO BE !!! IS IT LAND OF THE FREE OR STATE OF TERROR AGAINST OWN POPULATION !!? IT IS TIME TO LET THEM KNOW WHAT COLOR ARE THE STRIPES ON OUR STAR SPANGLED BANNER !!! TIME TO DETERMINE WHOSE INDEPENDENCE/AMERICA, WE CELEBRATE TODAY(who wants to erase us and denies us the right to exist) !!! IT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHOM WE ADDRESS WITH "PRESIDENT" (STOP HUMILIATING YOURSELF) !!!

VOTING POLL:

DO WE NEED MORE PROOFS TO INDICT OBAMA AND BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOR CRIMES COMMITTED AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY !!?

1)NO, THEY ARE CLEARLY GUILTY AS OIL WAR NEVER EVER WAS REAL ISSUE IN GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITES. REAL ISSUE ARE FACTS OR WHAT WE WITNESS TODAY WHEN VETERANS ARE HOMELESS, JOBLESS, KILLED, ETC.

2)NO, AS 911 ALONE AS WELL AS ACTIONS IMPOSED AGAINST WHITES IN USA (as well worldwide) ARE CLEARLY INDICATING ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY

3)YESS AS JUST YESTERDAY(for over 15 years to very yesterday), WE (news/media = vacuum world of lies) WERE TELLING YOU THAT UNEMPLOYMENT WAS AT 10% WHILE TODAY ONE IS AT 50% (HOW COME NO ONE QUESTION JOURNALISM LIKE THIS OR WHAT IS WORLD OF LIES AND DEMENTIA)!

4)I AGREE WITH FIRST TWO ANSWERS ABOVE. IT IS TIME TO PRESS CRIMINAL CHARGES AGAINST BOTH ADMINISTRATIONS DUE TO ACTS OF GENOCIDE AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY FOR THE SAKE(SAFETY) OF US AND OUR CHILDREN(DO NOT TURN THEM IN WHITE REFUGEES ON PLANET APES OR WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE WHEN VISITING ABOVE PAGES) !!!

Hacker
Hacker

Since we live on the border of Mexico, it just makes sense that any mistakes made regarding illegal immigration would happen to someone who looks like they are from Mexico. 1/3 of the people who live here look Mexican! Police officers make mistakes, they are human. New Times is so completely against Arpaio, there could not possibly be any news from them that is not biased. I don't trust you New Times!

Turk
Turk

So, pinkus fungus is trying to tell us his/her vehicle was running so poorly a mechanic needed to look at it... and all it merely needed was a new gas cap, at which time the car began to run just fine? Sounds a bit suspect to me. Maybe slanderous?

Clowning Around
Clowning Around

Just another day at the office for Sheriff Bozo Joke Arpaio and the Clowns. Citing someone just for listening to music.

As someone who listens to Spanish and reggae music, does this mean that Joke and the Clowns will come and arrest me?

Joke and the Clowns should lose ALL their authority to enforce the laws of this state. They should also be barred from ever returning to law enforcement.

pinkus fingerhut
pinkus fingerhut

nice pair both felons both thiefs hey papasita nice job raising your children to be good citizens. or is it a culture thing? anyway i surly doubt anyone in law enforcement would take your family seriously. oh i had my vehicle fixed and it seems your children are still robbing people, my car ran worse after junior said he fixed my problem and then told me to take it to the dealer. well i did and they told me whomever tried to repai my vehicle had no clue as to the computor system in my car. the retrived the codes and found a emmisions problem, to fix all that was needed was a new gas cap. $16.95 was the total for the part. the technician told me this is very common and if part is no good engine light will come on. i paid papasita over $90.00 and recieved nothing except advise to go to the dealer. it seems robbing people of there money runs in the family and may i warn others to avoid this so called auto repair shop.

FrankG
FrankG

The deputies are facing a minimum of 10 years in federal prison for using a weapon during the comission of this offence.

Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law This statute makes it a crime for any person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom to willfully deprive or cause to be deprived from any person those rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and laws of the U.S.

This law further prohibits a person acting under color of law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to willfully subject or cause to be subjected any person to different punishments, pains, or penalties, than those prescribed for punishment of citizens on account of such person being an alien or by reason of his/her color or race.

Acts under "color of any law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or limits of their lawful authority, but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority; provided that, in order for unlawful acts of any official to be done under "color of any law," the unlawful acts must be done while such official is purporting or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. This definition includes, in addition to law enforcement officials, individuals such as Mayors, Council persons, Judges, Nursing Home Proprietors, Security Guards, etc., persons who are bound by laws, statutes ordinances, or customs.

Punishment varies from a fine or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and if bodily injury results or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire shall be fined or imprisoned up to ten years or both, and if death results, or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

Coz
Coz

Doing what Bozo Joe, Hendershott and the Goons do best, Lying, changing and or destroying evidence.

These corrupt pieces of shit have a long, long proven history of this.

Coz
Coz

Doing what Bozo Joe, Hendershott and the Goons do best, Lying, changing and or destroying evidence.

These corrupt pieces of shit have a long, long proven history of this.

 
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