Driving, and living, while Black, Brown or Red in Arizona
Article and photo by Brenda Norrell
Photos: Arizona border victims by Brenda Norrell
TUCSON — When the ACLU released the report, “Driving while Black or Brown,” exposing racial profiling by Arizona police, it came as no surprise to Native Americans who live in the state. When hackers exposed the racist e-mails of Arizona police officers last week, it came as no surprise to the Native Americans who are victims of excessive force by Arizona police in bordertowns.
When hackers exposed the fact that off-duty US Marine contract killers are patrolling the Arizona border with assault weapons, stalking migrants, it came as no surprise to human rights organizations in southern Arizona. When hackers exposed the fact that a school cop was reporting the diversity class at a Tucson high school to the Arizona Attorney General, that probably came as a surprise to many students and staff at Santa Rita High School. The district is engaged in an ongoing battle with the State of Arizona to save its ethnic studies programs.
What was a surprise when hackers spilled data from Arizona police files? The surprise was that they got caught. Arizona police, private security officers and white supremacists have carried out their abuse and crimes with impunity in the State of Arizona. The Governor, Arizona State Legislature and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio have fueled the xenophobic attitude towards migrants and all people of color. This trio has attempted to create rule by white supremacists in a state populated by 21 American Indian Nations and diverse peoples and cultures.
“The good old boy” system crashed with the servers of the Fraternal Order of Police websites last week.
While the mainstream media fuels the racism, aiding private prison profiteers to fill their prisons with people of color, the media also paints Sheriff Arpaio as a colorful character, rather than examining the poisonous climate of hate he has injected into the region.
What was in those police e-mails hacked last week? There were racist chain letters forwarded by police about immigrants. There were insulting chain letters about President Obama. There was an e-mail praising torture from the police chief of Springerville, located near the Navajo Nation, Zuni Pueblo and White Mountain Apache Indian Nations.
The data exposed a registered sex offender who is a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, and a stalker who was a potential candidate for police chief in Tucson in 2009. It also exposed that a Navajo police officer from Teec Nos Pos discovered Arizona state police were filing charges in state court, rather than tribal court, for crimes on Indian land. The Navajo officer was then targeted by his superior and discriminated against.
Although a group of the worst e-mails have been published, one e-mail was too vulgar to publish. The e-mail was sent to a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, who is a former employee of the private prison profiteer Corrections Corporations of America. The e-mail was vulgar sarcasm about what was actually down to the body of Osama bin Laden. It was sent by a person working at a lighting company in southern California. The same FPO member had an outgoing e-mail with too much profanity to publish.
The data exposed the fact that Arizona police are well aware of the white supremacists and hate groups in Arizona. There are few eyes to witness the murders and rapes in the Sonoran Desert. The victims who are people of color in Arizona are a low priority for Arizona prosecutors. When US Border Patrol agents have been charged with the murder of migrants in federal court in Tucson, they were not convicted.
The hacked e-mails show that Arizona police are well aware that their own data was used when the ACLU prepared the report, “Driving while Black or Brown.” The report showed that Native Americans stopped by Arizona police are 3.25 times more likely to be searched than whites. The report says that these targeted searches were uncalled for, since whites are far more likely to be carrying contraband than Native Americans.
Here’s a recap of stories from the e-mails and reports exposed by hackers during June, who sail under the names of Antisec, Anonymous and Lulzsec.
Hackers slam Arizona police a third time
Hackers slammed the Arizona Department of Police for a third time on Thursday night, exposing police e-mails with more racism directed at Arabs, anti-immigrant chain e-mails, and crude jokes about President Obama. The release, Chinga La Migra Comminque III, “Fraternal Ownage of Police,” targets Arizona’s Fraternal Order of Police. The Antisec movement said they are defacing and taking down their websites, on behalf of the rights of immigrants and working people. Read the worst e-mails:
Tucson: Hackers reveal data targeting ethnic studies
TUCSON — Hackers have once again slammed Arizona police, exposing racism and corruption.
In the second release of data on Wednesday, June 29, in the Chinga La Migra Dos files, Tucson schools public safety officer Robert ‘Bob’ Barry of Tucson, sent a letter to Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne urging an investigation of studies at Santa Rita High School in May.
Barry tells the Attorney General that students at Santa Rita High are being “indoctrinated” because they are being told about the genocide of Native Americans. Barry calls a diversity speech “hate speech.” Read more:
Hacked data reveals US Marines as contract killers, hunting migrants on the border
The hunting and murder of migrants by US Marines along the Arizona border was among the first facts revealed, after LulzSec hacked the Arizona Department of Public Safety on Thursday. The data exposes the fact that Arizona law enforcement officers were aware that migrants were being hunted by off-duty Marines patrolling the border with assault weapons. The information was in a report for the month of October, 2008, by Arizona’s HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Investigative Support Center.
“In other incidents reported in October, U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered two subjects who claimed to be members of the Border Watch Group the Blue Lights based on the Caballo Loco Ranch. The subjects, armed with pistols and at least one M4 rifle, were dressed in full desert camouflage uniforms, similar to those of the United States military. They stated they were not members of the Minutemen, but paid contract employees who ‘get the job done’ and ‘were not just volunteers.’ They possessed valid United States Marine Corps identification cards.”
Read more about this ranch near Sasabe, Arizona, south of Three Points, and alongside the Tohono O’odham Nation. The Caballo Loco is where Minutemen, Patriots, off-duty Marines and other white supremacists camp and stalk migrants:
ACLU Arizona Racial Profiling “Driving while Black or Brown”
Columbus, Ohio Police Target Native American Long Walkers, on Friday, July 3, 2011, and in 2008:
About the photos
At El Tiradito Shrine in Tucson, the organization “No More Deaths,” remembered “Descondido” and thousands of other migrants who have died along the border of the United States and Mexico. Descondido was found hanged near the village of Cowlic in 2005 and is among the migrants meeting with violent death after crossing the border.
At El Tiradito Shrine in Tucson, volunteers with “No More Deaths,” remembered migrants who have died along the border during a prayer vigil at a shrine in Tucson. When each migrants’ name was read, those present said, “Presente” (Present) to show that they had not been forgotten. Thousands of names of migrants, who died from dehydration, assaults and other causes, were placed at the shrine.
Shrine outside federal courthouse in Tucson for Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera, 22, from Morelia, Mexico, murdered by US Border Patrol agent. Agent was found not guilty.
Angie Ramon, Tohono O’odham, mother of Bennett Patricio, Jr, 18, stands where her son was run over and killed by the US Border Patrol on Tohono O’odham land. Ramon sued the officers in federal court, alleging her son was murdered by officers when he walked up on Border Patrol agents transferring a load of drugs in the remote desert at 3 am. Ramon carried the case to the Ninth Circuit and found no justice.
Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 29 years, living on the Navajo Nation for 18 years and in Tucson for a decade.