Guadalupe activist Andrew Sanchez and activist Margarito Blancas got the CNN treatment today, in a piece running on CNN's Web site with the header "Cop-watchers look for racial profiling on the streets of Phoenix."
CNN tagged along with Sanchez and Blancas (CNN has the latter's name as "Blanco," though I've always known him as Blancas) as they dog MCSO deputies during Sheriff Joe's most recent sweep. A deputy pulls over a car, and later cuts the Hispanic driver loose.
Not much happens with the incident, but it does give you an idea of how Cop Watch works. Often the reason drivers like this get let go by MCSO is because Cop Watch is there filming what transpires, observing and keeping records. Basically, if a cop knows he or she is being eyeballed by activists, then he or she is less likely to step out of line.
New Times has written about Sanchez many times in the past. Village Voice Media executive editor Michael Lacey profiled Sanchez and his family in the kickoff piece for the series Are Your Papers in Order?
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I first wrote about Sanchez back in 2008, when I documented Arpaio's still-infamous sweep of Guadalupe. Back then, Sanchez was cited for "improper use of horn" by the MCSO when he honked his approval of anti-Joe protesters. The charge was later dropped.
Sanchez and his family have been the subject of near-constant harassment by the MCSO. Since Sanchez lives in Guadalupe, and the MCSO still has a contract to provide police services there, he may never be free of the MCSO's police-state-like scrutiny.
Obviously, what drew CNN to the Sanchez story was the link provided by SB 1070, which Arpaio says he'll be enforcing. I'm glad to see Sanchez receive a little national shine for being one of the many Davids out there taking on the Arpaio Goliath.
Before you say, "Who needs 'em," here's a partial list of cities that have adopted similar measures: Boston, Massachusetts; Oakland and West Hollywood, California; Boulder, Colorado; the city and county of El Paso, Texas; and St. Paul, Minnesota.
Powerful voices are urging Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to yank the 2011 All-Star Game from Phoenix: Among them, National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia; U.S. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey; and New York Congressman Jose Serrano, along with a growing number of sports writers.
Selig's kept mum on the subject so far, saying of MLB, only that, "We're a social institution, and I'll rest my case on the fact that baseball has been remarkably socially active over the last 50 years."
Although Arizona Diamondbacks Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick has claimed to be against SB 1070, the lefty Nation magazine has blasted him for holding a fundraiser for Republican state Senator Jonathan Paton, who is now running for U.S. Congress and voted for SB 1070 before stepping down from his seat in February. Continued calls to boycott the D-backs come from several activist and online groups.
There have been a handful of conference cancellations -- the meat and potatoes of the tourist trade here in AZ. Those axing plans to conference in Cactus Country include the National Urban League, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. More are anticipated.
The National Council of La Raza has a boycott drive on called Boycott Intolerance. They announced it last week, and were joined by the Asian American Justice Center, the Service Employees International Union, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Puerto Rican Coalition, and the League of United Latin American Citizens.
Bottom line: The boycott will hurt. It's already hurt and could crush Arizona's tentative economic recovery. Until the law is halted in the courts, Arizona's in for a world of pain. All thanks to nativists in the state legislature, like state Senator Russell Pearce, and to Governor Jan Brewer, who signed the bill into law..