Category Archives: Police

On Hating Brown People

English: United States Supreme Court building ...

English: United States Supreme Court building in Washington D.C., USA. Front facade. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Supreme Court yesterday pretty much eviscerated Arizona’s harsh immigration law, SB 1070. According to the Court, there were four major provisions in that law for review:

Section 3 makes failure to comply with federal alien-registration requirements a state misdemeanor; §5(C) makes it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to seek or engage in work in the State; §6 authorizes state and local officers to arrest without a warrant a person “the officer has probable cause to believe . . . has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States”; and §2(B) requires officers conducting a stop, detention, or arrest to make efforts, in some circumstances, to verify the person’s immigration status with the Federal Government.

The Supremes voided §§ 3, 5(C), and 6, saying they preempted the federal government’s power in that area granted by Congress. Regarding §2(B), the Court held:

It is not clear at this stage and on this record that §2(B), in practice, will require state officers to delay the release of detainees for no reason other than to verify their immigration status. This would raise constitutional concerns. And it would disrupt the federal framework to put state officers in the position of holding aliens in custody for possible unlawful presence without federal direction and supervision. But §2(B) could be read to avoid these concerns. If the law only requires state officers to conduct a status check during the course of an authorized, lawful detention or after a detainee has been released, the provision would likely survive preemption—at least absent some showing that it has other consequences that are adverse to federal law and its objectives. Without the benefit of a definitive in- terpretation from the state courts, it would be inappropriate to as- sume §2(B) will be construed in a way that conflicts with federal law. Cf. Fox v. Washington, 236 U. S. 273, 277. This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect.

Essentially, the Court said that, since the law hasn’t gone into effect yet, they can’t void it. But it stated that, if the police were only conducting a status check on someone during their lawful detention for another matter, it would probably be ok. But once the law goes into effect, the Court can look at it again.

Where does this law come from? Why this hatred of brown people? I suppose this could be asked of any new group that seeks refuge in a country that was built on immigration. The original Germans from the Rheinpfalz who came here in the late 1700s and later became the

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 24:  (L-R) Arizona stat...

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 24: (L-R) Arizona state Sen. Steve Gallardo; Russell Pearce, sponsor of the controversial immigration law Arizona SB 1070; former Sen. Dennis DeConcini, and Todd Landfried testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill April 24, 2012 in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing entitled ‘Examining the Constitutionality and Prudence of State and Local Governments Enforcing Immigration Law’ prior to the U.S. Supreme Court hearing arguments on the legislation tomorrow. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Pennsylvania Dutch and the Amish must have been looked down on by the colonists. I must imagine that the incoming  German immigrants that reached tidal wave status in the latter half of the 1800s had to be an object of scorn. Clearly, the Irish, fleeing the killing potato famine and desperate to feed themselves and their families were vilified. Here we have clear evidence, with signs and advertisements in newspapers  that stated “No Irish Need Apply.” The Jews who came here were characterized as big-nosed monsters, and described sometimes as practicing rites requiring them to drink the blood of  Christian infants. Italians, whose wave began in the early 1900s, were characterized as thieves and sneaks. Essentially, any new group coming to these shores to seek the American dream has been vilified and put upon during their early years.

Part of the problem people already here had with immigrants was their reluctance to speak English (one of the more difficult languages in the world to conquer) and their tendency to stay together in neighborhoods, or ghettos. In my own family I know that my great-great grandmother, born in 1870 to immigrant parents from the Rheinpfalz, spoke German only as a child and went to German schools in a community now known as Lindenhurst but then called Breslau, after the second largest city in Prussia before the end of World War II. Why is it so frightening to many conservative Americans that modern immigrants from Mexico are more comfortable speaking Spanish? These people get exercised if a ballot is written in both languages. I sometimes wonder if they’re like my great-uncle Jerry, who honestly believed that when people were conversing in a foreign language around him, they were talking about him. The arrogance was, and is, mind boggling. And these same people come up with horrendous legislation in return.

English: Photo of Kris Kobach

English: Photo of Kris Kobach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The people who write these laws (Russell Pearce in Arizona, and most especially the Attorney General of Kansas, Kris Kobach, who drafted that legislation and others around the country) that clearly intend to make life a living hell for the undocumented are invariably white conservatives. Their fear is that ‘their’ nation will not be theirs any more, that the reign of the White Anglo Saxon Protestant is over. But rather than welcoming the newcomers and helping them assimilate, they lash out at them. Epithets are spewed, positions are taken (in the name of protecting the country) and outrageous ideas are seriously entertained. Does anyone actually believe that we’re going to wall off the southern boundary of our country and that will solve the problem?

In fifty years we will look back on this time and wonder how our fellow countrymen (and women) could have been so stupid. Because in the current 11 million undocumented people exist doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, university professors, and business creators. Take a look at this list to see what immigrants can do for this country:

Immigrants on the Forbes 400

The Forbes 400 is a list published by Forbes magazine of the richest 400 Americans. It was first published in 1982. It is ranked by net worth and is published annually in September and 2010 marks the 29th issue. In the Forbes 400, there are 35 individuals who are immigrants. Here is a comprehensive list of these immigrants, including their nationality, net worth, age, organization, title and source of wealth (arranged by net worth).

Name Nationality Net Worth Age Organization Title Source
Sergey Brin Russia $19.8 B 37 Google Co-Founder Google; Self-made
George Soros Hungary $14.5 B 80 Quantum Fund Founder Hedge funds; Self-made
Leonard Blavatnik Russia $10.1 B 53 Access Industries Founder; Chairman; President Access Industries; Self-made
Rupert Murdoch Australia $7.6 B 80 News Corp. CEO News Corp; Self-made
Pierre Omidyar France $6.7 B 43 Ebay Founder; Chairman Ebay; Self-made
Micky Arison Israel $5.9 B 61 Carnival Corporation CEO Carnival Cruises; Inherited and growing
Patrick Soon-Shiong South Africa $5.2 B 59 Abraxis BioScience Founder; Chairman and CEO Generic drugs; Self-made
Roger Wang China $4.2 B 62 The Golden Eagle International Group Chairman; CEO Retail; Self-made
Victor Fung China $3.55 B 65 Li & Fung Group Chairman Retail; Self-made
Robert Friedland Canada $3.4 B 60 Ivanhoe Mines, Inc. Executive Chairman; CEO Mining; Self-made
Haim Saban Egypt $3.4 B 66 Media Proprietor Media Proprietor Television; Self-made
Barbara Piasecka Johnson Poland $2.9 B 74 Johnson & Johnson None Johnson & Johnson; Inherited
Steven Ferencz Udvar-Házy Hungary $2.8 B 65 Air Lease Corp. CEO International Lease Finance; Self-made
Edgar Miles Bronfman Canada $2.6 B 81 Inherited None Seagram’s liquor; Inherited and growing
John Catsimatidis row 16, column 2 $2.6 B 69 Kingston Technology President; Co-Founder Computer memory; Self-made
David Sun Taiwan $2.6 B 59 Kingston Techonology Co- Founder Computer memory; Self-made
John Tu Taiwan $2.6 B 69 Kingston Technology President; Co-Founder Computer memory; Self-made
Igor Olenicoff Russia $2.5 B 68 Olen Properties Founder Real estate; Self-made
Nicolas Berggruen France $2.2 B 49 Berggruen Holdings Founder; President Investments; Inherited and growing
Bharat Desai Kenya $2.2 B 58 Syntel CEO; Chairman Syntel; Self-made
Mortimer Benjamin Zuckerman Canada $2.1 B 73 Boston Properties Co-Founder Real estate; Media; Self-made
Min Kao Taiwan $1.7 B 62 Garmin Corporation Co-Founder Navigation equipment; Self-made
Alexander Rovt Ukraine $1.7 B 58 IBE Trade Corp President Fertilizer; Self-made
James Kim Korea $1.6 B 75 Amkor Electronics Executive chairman Microchips; Inherited and growing
Eduardo Saverin Brazil $1.6 B 29 Facebook Co-founder Facebook, Self-made
Evgeny Markovich Shvidler Russia $1.6 B 47 Millhouse, LLC Chairman Millhouse LLC, self-made
Kavitark Ram Shriram India $1.6 B 54 Google Co-Founder Venture capital; Google; Self-made
Peter Andreas Thiel Germany $1.5 B 43 Paypal Co-Founder; Former CEO Paypal; Facebook; Self-made
Vinod Khosla India $1.4 B 56 Khosla Ventures Founder Sun Microsystems; Venture capital; Self-made
Thomas Peterffy Hungary $1.4 B 66 Interactive Brokers Group Founder; CEO Interactive Brokers Group; Self-made
Romesh T. Wadhwani India $1.4 B 63 Symphony Technology Group Founder; Chairman Software; Self-made
Alexander Knaster Russia $1.3 B 52 Pamplona Capital Management Director Oil; Telecom; Banking; Self-made
Michael Moritz Wales $1.3 B 56 Sequoia Capital Partner Venture capital; Self-made
Jerry Yang Taiwan $1.3 B 42 Yahoo Co-founder; Former CEO Yahoo; Self-made
C. Dean Metropoulos Greece $1.2 B 64 C. Dean Metropoulos & Co Executive Chairman Investments; Self-made

Data was obtained from Forbes.com.

The picture painted by most conservatives is that Hispanic immigrants (read Mexicans) are lazy, shiftless, money-grubbing leaches who come here only to get on welfare, take away jobs from deserving Americans, have their babies here to gain citizenship, and take advantage of our health care system by clogging emergency rooms everywhere. Nothing could be further from the truth. These immigrants want to work, they want to be part of this country. And here in Nevada, it’s an even greater irony, because they are emigrating to a land that was theirs for centuries before we took it away from them.

Hatreds die hard, but they find it difficult to survive in a person if they meet the object of their scorn and find them human like themselves.


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Filed under Hatred, Human rights, Immigrant, Immigration, Immigration reform, Police, Politics, Supreme Court

Knock, Knock! Who’s There?

Official portrait of Supreme Court Justice Rut...Image via Wikipedia

Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States in Kentucky v. King held that police officers could enter a home without a search warrant due to “exigent circumstances” even if they themselves create those selfsame exigent circumstances. In this case, they passed by a door in an apartment complex and smelled marijuana smoke, knocked and announced they were the police, and heard sounds of people moving about inside. To their minds this was obviously to destroy ‘evidence’, so they kicked in the door.

All the justices but Ruth Bader Ginsburg (above) voted to overturn the decision of the Kentucky Supreme Court and hold for the police. Their reasoning has the same relationship to reality that fish does to ice cream–NONE! Justice Samuel Alito, declaring the police did not create the exigency, stated that they simply knocked on the door, something that “any private citizen might do.” He then states that, “[w]hether the person who knocks and requests the opportunity to speak is a police officer or a private citizen, the occupant has no obligation to open the door or to speak.” Aaarghhhh!!!

Official 2007 portrait of U.S. Supreme Court A...Image via Wikipedia

Have these people ever had any interaction with the police? Do they really believe that a private citizen would have the cojones to tell an officer, “No, I really don’t want to talk with you right now.” This view of the world has become a severe problem for the Supremes. They do not see the world the way ordinary human beings do. Have they ever been stopped for speeding? (And, gotten a ticket?) Has anyone close to them ever experienced an arrest? There’s just such an air of royalty in their tone and thinking that I would not be surprised to read a line in a future opinion expressing the thought that the people should eat cake if they have no bread. There is a real lack of the humanity of earlier justices. It bodes poorly for the future of law in this wonderful land.

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Seattle Police Officer Apologizes for Being Bigoted

Late this past week Seattle police searching for suspects in an armed robbery took two Hispanics into their custody. They threatened one Mexican man, already on the ground and in their custody, saying “You got me? I’m going to beat the (expletive) Mexican (expletive) out of you homey. You feel me? The second expletive was “piss” and I can only assume the first was “fucking”. They punched him and, as one radio announcer so gingerly put it, one cop contacted the Mexican’s head with his boot. Read: he kicked the guy in the head while he was in custody on the ground.


According to later articles, the police officer with the bigoted mouth was abjectly sorry for his behavior. It’s hard to even conceive of forgiving him on that ground. When he had the power he unleashed a torrent of abuse on what turned out to be the wrong guy. And he felt no compunction on using physical force on someone already under control and not giving any fight.


As someone who has worked in the area of police oversight for over 14 years, the saddest thing is that such behavior is not surprising. Policing tends to attract more than its fair share of bullies and thugs. The work provides opportunities for unleashing such behavior unacceptable in normal society. Had the suspect been the actual armed robber,  the officer would have gotten away with little to no reactions from the police administration or public.


But this man who took the brunt of this officer’s thug-ness was innocent. The cop obviously held if not a deep seated hatred of Hispanics, at least a huge degree of disdain.  It was discriminatory behavior in its most raw form.


The question now is, is an apology a sufficient get-out-of-jail card for being such a bigot? I say no. It’s simply not good enough. But neither is the normal punishment meted out by the police department. It’s not good enough to punish him by making him lose vacation time (a long-standing method of upbraiding police who go wrong.) It’s not enough to change his detail or station house. What’s needed is to make him work with the people he apparently despises. Put him in an Hispanic neighborhood and make him walk the beat. Or make him responsible for wayward Mexican juveniles. This cop has to learn about the culture he so obviously thinks is worthless. Let  the people he works with determine when he’s ready to rejoin the regular force.


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