ABC News Investigation Finds Tucson Eatery Patrons are Intolerant of Racial Profiling

An upcoming episode of an ABC News show features patrons of a Tucson eatery coming to the rescue of Hispanics getting grilled by a "gringo" security guard who wants to see their "papers."

The "What Would You Do" episode, judging from an accompanying article on ABC's Web site, sounds more like a Jackass stunt than an undercover investigation. We're pretty sure it adds nothing to the debate over Arizona Senate Bill 1070, the state's much-criticized, legally challenged anti-illegal-immigrant law.

But it does prove that folks who eat at "BK Carne Asada and Hot Dogs" in Tucson won't stand for racial profiling. Hispanic and white Arizona residents rushed to help the actors playing the profiling victims and to berate the bigoted, over-zealous "guard."

Here's a sample:

"Are you flipping kidding me?" yells Rebecca Russ, a restaurant patron who gets in the guard's face. "You want to ask them if they belong here? Do you belong here?"

"Don't you guys want to know if they have ID?" the security guard asks.

"It's nobody's [expletive] business, get out!" yells Russ. "Oh my God, I want to punch him! ... They have a daughter!"

The ABC article's author, Elissa Stohler, doesn't state that police actually would do this in Arizona. Rather, she writes, "What our actor playing the security guard was doing -- racial profiling -- was exactly what some argue would happen under the new immigration law."

It doesn't seem likely that cops in Tucson or elsewhere in Arizona would have demanded to see the "papers" of innocent families getting lunch, though it is conceivable. The bulk of the racial profiling would have happened on the road. If SB 1070 could have produced such drastic, Nazi-style police conduct, however, it can't anymore. Last year, a federal court struck down provisions in the law that required police to check the immigration status of crime suspects and would have forced immigrants to carry ID at all times.

SB 1070 aside, another big problem in Arizona is that bigoted bozos like the fictional security guard actually do exist. Patrick Haab and JT Ready are two that come to mind.

For sure, there are some places in Arizona where the citizenry might be more apt to help the guard than the Hispanic actors.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.