1/26/2003 Newsletter


  • Court Support Opportunities
  • Same Thing Happened Here
  • Larimer County, CO Wants to Make Everyone a Cop

We have two cases coming up for court dates soon. Please take a little time to help these folks get justice in their cases.

1) Rickey Jones: Mr. Jones is a professional photographer who makes his living taking pictures of people at clubs in downtown Minneapolis. Being downtown frequently, he has on occasion captured on film incidents of police abuse, much to the distress of the cops involved. As a result, four officers have been waging an ongoing campaign of harassment of Rickey, falsely arresting and charging him, stealing and breaking his equipment, removing film from his camera, etc. This upcoming hearing stems from one such false arrest. Rickey is doing the work of the people--he deserves to be supported.
February 13
9:00 a.m.
Hennepin County Government Center
300 S 6th Street in downtown Minneapolis

2) Truth Maze: The legal saga continues as Truth Maze goes back to court to fight the unfair charges brought by cops who are charging him with what they did to him. After being attacked by a plainclothes cop for merely standing at a bus stop, local poet and activist Truth Maze continues to face gross misdemeanor charges.
February 18
8:30 a.m.
Hennepin County Government Center
300 S 6th Street in downtown Minneapolis
Go to the court information desk and ask for the courtroom of William Harris.

Reading the story below reminded us that a similar situation occurred at the Minneapolis Convention Center during the International Chiefs of Police convention. A number of immigrant workers were arrested on alleged immigration violations, two lost their jobs permanently and a number of people of color were told not to come to work during the convention. All so the chief architects of police brutality and repression worldwide could meet "without fear." Now the same thing is being done so football fans can "feel safe." Shameful!

INS Arrests 69 in Super Bowl Sweep

The arrests were the result of a probe that targeted workers in industries operating in and around San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, who have access to restricted areas.

SAN DIEGO (AP) 1.24.03, 12:05p -- Nearly 70 foreign-born security guards and drivers working at or around the Super Bowl were arrested by immigration agents in a three-month operation designed to ensure the safety of fans, authorities said today. As part of "Operation Game Day," the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service arrested 45 security guards and 24 cab drivers. Of those, 34 had prior criminal convictions.

"In the aftermath of 9-11, our priority is to examine areas that pose the highest security threat and take appropriate action," said Adele J. Fasano, director of the INS' San Diego district. "We are fully committed to using all of our investigative resources to ensure the safety of our community."

INS agents reviewed 12,000 employment verification forms from 187 security guard companies as well as limousine and shuttle companies. Agents also checked the licenses of more than 3,500 cab drivers in San Diego and Imperial counties.

Those detained on immigration violations face possible deportation to their home countries. Six face criminal prosecution by the U.S. Attorney's office in San Diego.

Efran Alvarez Jacobo and Aaron Fernando Reyes Ortiz, both security guards, and Fernando Aguilar, a cab driver, have pleaded innocent in federal court to immigration violations. Eduardo Fuentes Perez also is being prosecuted, but court records did not indicate his profession.

Most of the security guards arrested are from Latin American countries, while many of the transportation workers are from 25 countries suspected of having terrorist cells, immigration officials said.

John Mansfield, the lawyer for a Nigerian-born British citizen who was picked up in the sweep, filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday, alleging that Anthony Ajayi's rights were violated when he was picked up at the private security company where he had been working with a false social security number.

Ajayi, who is married to a U.S. citizen, was in the process of obtaining permanent residency and had a legal work permit that he planned to use once he switched jobs. His lawyer is challenging the INS's plans to deport him without an immigration court hearing.



Larimer workers may soon be armed
County plan called 'violence prevention'
By Coleman Cornelius
Denver Post Northern Colorado Bureau

Monday, January 20, 2003 - FORT COLLINS - Larimer County commissioners are poised to adopt a policy allowing the county's 1,400 employees to carry guns on the job, a prospect that has gun-control advocates up in arms.

Officials said the policy is likely the first of its kind in Colorado.

If the "Workplace Violence Prevention Policy" is approved as drafted, local residents could encounter armed public employees when they go to county offices to renew vehicle license plates, apply for building permits, get marriage licenses, register to vote or pay property taxes.

"I find it very offensive," said Cherie Trine of Fort Collins, who supports gun control. "Where guns are involved, there is more violence. Guns intimidate people. That's their purpose."

The all-Republican three-member Larimer County Board of Commissioners tentatively plans to adopt the policy at its regular meeting in Fort Collins on Jan. 28.

The policy, which proclaims "zero tolerance for workplace violence," aims to thwart trouble by allowing county employees with concealed-weapons permits to carry guns on the job unless their bosses have reason to think the firearms would be misused. It would apply to all county departments.

"I'm looking at it as a violence-prevention policy, not a weapons policy," said Commissioner Glenn Gibson of Loveland. "This was something that we felt was a good idea that would address violence in the workplace, so people would know violence would not be tolerated in our workplace and this would be a happy place to work."

Like many violence-prevention policies, the one drafted in Larimer County forbids threatening or harmful behavior on the job and outlines methods for discipline and appeal. There was not a case of workplace violence that prompted the policy.

But on the point of weapons at work, the local policy is opposite those adopted by other public agencies.

The state of Colorado, for instance, has a personnel policy that strictly prohibits all employees except law-enforcement officers from carrying guns on the job, said Jeff Schutt, state human resources director.

"There's no reason for it. That's a typical employment practice in both the public and private sector," Schutt said.

Larimer County officials said the new policy is an administrative matter, so the commissioners do not plan to set aside time for public comment that might influence the policy's final draft.

That has triggered anger among some county residents who think the policy could provoke rather than prevent violence. Opponents plan to air concerns at the commissioners' meeting at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Wellington Junior High School.

"We think this is a public-policy issue that should be discussed and should have a public hearing before it's adopted because the public frequents county buildings," said Eleanor Dwight, Fort Collins spokeswoman for the Million Mom March, an organization that lobbies for gun control.

Larimer County manager Frank Lancaster said he thinks the violence-prevention policy is the first in the state to let county employees carry weapons, including knives and guns, at work. Colorado Counties Inc., which works with counties statewide, does not have records on such policies.

Work on the plan began last year when two Larimer County employees asked for a policy forbidding weapons on the job after two fellow workers brought guns to work, Lancaster said. In one case, a handgun fell out of a worker's hidden holster and down a staircase, he said. The gun did not discharge, but the incident alarmed co-workers, the county manager said.

But the policy that resulted from the complaint allows, rather than prohibits, hidden handguns on the job.

"The commissioners felt the right to bear arms was important," Lancaster said. "It started out one place, and it went here. It is the commissioners' call on what they want to do."

Lancaster said county staff reviewed about 20 violence-prevention policies from around the nation before drafting the Larimer County policy. All prohibited or severely restricted guns on the job, so the first draft of the local policy likewise banned weapons at work, he said.

Ralph Jacobs, Larimer County human resources director, said that as the policy was formed several employees pushed for a workplace gun ban, while several others lobbied for the right to have weapons at work.

The most notable gun proponent was Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden, who was elected on his promise to issue more concealed-weapons permits and has become a prominent statewide advocate of hidden handguns.

Since Alderden took office in 1999, he has issued 2,273 concealed-weapons permits, quickly making Larimer County No. 2 in the state based on the number of permits issued, according to records. El Paso County is No. 1 in concealed-weapons permits.

Alderden said he sought to convince commissioners that concealed weapons can prevent violence and that permit holders should not be subject to restrictions on where they can carry guns.

"Concealed-weapons permit holders should be allowed to have a gun at the workplace," Alderden said. "How could you argue that it's inappropriate? More guns equal less crime."

Communities United Against Police Brutality
2104 Stevens Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

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