Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 2:24 p.m.
Back in September, shortly after MCSO's South Phoenix anti-immigrant sweep, I blogged about a 2006 letter signed by Sheriff Joe to the head of Phoenix Copwatch acknowledging the constitutional right of citizens to videotape his deputies in public.
Galindo's first video of his run in with the MCSO at Gran Mercado
Despite this, there have been numerous incidents where Joe's deputies have threatened to take cameras from legal observers, contending that they are working undercover, work undercover in other operations, or that what the observer has documented has suddenly become "evidence" in their "investigation."
Galindo's second video of his harassment by sheriff's deputies
One example I offered was what happened to activist/radio host Carlos Galindo as he documented MCSO deputies harassing vendors at the Gran Mercado in Phoenix. The video I posted was one where an MCSO deputy orders him to stop filming, telling Galindo that, "I'm up here, and you're down here," so he has no choice but to comply.
The deputy says his fellow MCSO-ers are undercover, but they are walking around in the open with their badges around their necks. He also says they act as undercover operatives in other cases.
Though the MCSO attempted to erase Galindo's footage, he was able to retrieve it and make a YouTube video of it, which I posted to the blog September 18 along with the letter from Joe to Copwatch's Sean Whitcomb. Recently, someone sent me these other two YouTube videos, which I hadn't seen at the time.
See, Galindo had someone with him who was surreptitiously videotaping the entire event, as several MCSO deputies surrounded Galindo and intimidated him. Galindo stood his ground though, correctly pointing out that by taking his camera, the deputies were violating his civil rights.
The deputies go on to act like pure thugs, and make more than one anti-Hispanic comment, as Galindo hands over his camera.
"He said, `You can't film,'" Galindo tells one deputy. "He didn't say, `Turn it off.'"
"That's semantics," counters the deputy, a moment later adding, "That's like saying, `Hey, stop talking,' and you start talking in Spanish."
"So now it's a problem that I speak Spanish as well," observes Galindo.
"Are you gonna draw the racial card?" asks the deputy.
Actually, it was the deputy himself who played the ethnic card when he used that analogy.
"You can twist this any way you want," said the deputy, "to make it seem racial. The fact is you were told to do something. The way society works is, the police tell you to do something, you do it. If you choose not to, there's consequences."
Um, no, that's not the way society works, blockhead. You don't get to violate people's civil rights in this country just because you're a cop. But apparently, Joe's beige patrol believes they're the law, and you have to obey them no matter what. As Galindo points out in a commentary at the end of one of the videos, this is a police state mentality.
The deputy asks if Galindo has kids, and Galindo asks him why he needs to know that. Another deputy accuses him of being paranoid, which Galindo denies. Then another deputy drops one more bigoted comment.
"You are taking it to a paranoid level," a second deputy states. "That's what you guys always do."
MCSO Sgt. Brett Palmer, the same blithering idiot who told elected public officials to "shut up" during an infamous MCSO press conference back in April, announces that he's deleted the footage from Galindo's camera. Unsuccessfully, we later learn. Galindo accuses him of violating his civil rights.
"Don't argue with me about what your civil rights are," Palmer tells Galindo. "I know what your civil rights are. You think you got an issue? Go find an attorney and sue me. Palmer, 1409 is my serial number. Join the bandwagon."
This class-A imbecile then goes on to insult Galindo's intelligence.
"You're giving me about as much intelligence as I get from a rock," he informs Galindo at one point.
Would that be the rock in your head, Brett?
Sadly, this sickening display on the part of MCSO deputies is just par for the course, particularly considering the contempt MCSO gendarmes have recently shown for the authority of the judiciary by calling in sick to the superior court on the same day of a bomb threat.
The MCSO is a rogue law enforcement agency, with its own agenda, beholden to no one. Only the federal government can put an end to what's going on in Maricopa County. Until they intervene, the MCSO will continue to run roughshod over the U.S. Constitution, bullying average citizens and media persons, as they did with Carlos Galindo here.
Galindo had another run-in with MCSO deputies in August, which I've blogged about previously. And his daughter caught some interesting footage of Joe at his ASU West appearance earlier this year. I have to give the Radio KASA host credit. Not many folks would challenge the MCSO in this manner. More definitely should.