Why do local nativists feel emboldened and increasingly willing to express themselves violently? Well, it's no coincidence that most local nativists are rabid supporters of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio's tactics and rhetoric play to the nativists. He green-lights their hatred of Mexican immigrants, and with his own lawless behavior gives the nativists the impression that they are protected and approved of, no matter how nefarious their methods.
Angry Jim goes beserk in Gilman's latest...
The man known to the pro-immigrant crowd as "Angry Jim," seen here in videos by Dennis Gilman and Gilman's fellow videographer Cuauhtlatohuac, has long been known for his racist vigils outside Sal Reza's Macehualli Day Labor Center and at a day-laborer gathering spot near Thomas and 36th Street. He has an interesting trick of daring someone to touch one of his signs, then responding with blows rendered with the help of one of these same signs.
This latest incident with Angry Jim and Gilman occurred Saturday, December 19. Gilman accidentally stepped on one of Angry Jim's signs, and Angry Jim picked up a sign and began jousting at Gilman and Cuauhtlatohuac. The Phoenix police were called and took statements but made no arrests.
"They'd probably arrest us," Reza says in Cuauhtlatohuac's video of the cops. "But they won't arrest him."
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Cuauhtlatohuac's video of the latest Angry Jim meltdown
I tend to agree, though I cannot go so far as Gilman does in his video. I would like to see the Phoenix PD more proactive in dealing with the nativists when these haters cross the line from political expression into acts of physical intimidation. However, I'm unwilling to conflate the Phoenix Police Department and Arpaio's MCSO.
There are no doubt reactionary elements in the PPD: Witness Mark Spencer, the President of the Phoenix police union PLEA, recently reelected to another term. Spencer is as anti-immigrant as they come, and his nativist advocacy gets a pass from the rank and file, if not from PPD's middle and upper echelons. That said, the PPD comes nowhere close to matching the abuses and malfeasance of the MCSO. The PPD may have its faults, but it generally remains a professional law enforcement organization. The MCSO is an outlaw entity.
The problem with the nativists is that these squeaky wheels get all of the WD-40. The nativists raise hell, abuse the system, threaten violence and largely get away with it because they have a sense of entitlement. The other side does not do this -- and sometimes cannot do this if the undocumented are involved. That's why Gilman's evidence of this behavior is welcome. The more the pro-immigrant crowd adopts the entitled attitude of the nativists (minus the violence), the more the cops will be forced to respond with the appropriate measures against nativist acts of aggression.