Tucson Police and Border Patrol Collaborate in Brutal Assault on South Tucson Community



Tucson – The Derechos Humanos community and other organizations condemn the behavior and actions of the Tucson Police Department and the U.S. Border Patrol.

On Tuesday evening, October 8, 2013, members of the Tucson Police Department and Border Patrol brutally attacked a non-violent group of community members peacefully standing up for workers and families. Officers violently assaulted the group, using pepper spray and rubber bullets on the crowd that came to support three individuals who were illegally interrogated and arrested by Tucson Police and the U.S. Border Patrol.

The incident occurred when Tucson Police used the cover of a faulty license plate light to racially profile men of color at a traffic stop near 10th Ave and 22nd St. People in the nearby neighborhood and community members from Southside Workers Center and Southside Presbyterian Church went to  advocate for these men and bear witness to this abuse. After officers on the scene called Border Patrol and detained the men at their vehicle, people from the crowd of bystanders circled the Border Patrol vehicle by holding hands in an act of courage to protect these men from being potentially deported.

When the community of support took brave action to stand together and prevent Border Patrol from leaving with the driver and his passenger, more BP agents arrived and proceeded to attack the group. An estimated 40 agents and police removed people from the area through excessive brute force. Several people were injured, including elderly women and children, with one woman receiving multiple slashes from being shoved into a Palo Verde tree. Additionally, one of the women that was not part of the protest was subject to racist questioning regarding her identification and subsequently detained and taken. The remaining community members tried to rush to her aid, but as the vehicle left more border patrol followed behind the crowd. Once again, people in the streets stood together in protest of this violent action by TPD and Border Patrol, refusing to move out of the way of the remaining vehicles.

When they realized that the community refused to stand down, more agents and TPD officers descended on the crowd and assaulted more unarmed, peaceful protesters with pepper spray, rubber bullets, and attack dogs. In the aftermath several beloved community members were injured, three people taken to ICE and one person taken into police custody for erroneous charges of assaulting a federal officer (her charges were dropped the next morning and she was released).

Derechos Humanos condemns this vicious attack on our community. We have suffered the massive separation of families for years.  We have demanded that the militarization of our city and the border end. The years of continued police and ICE collaboration exacerbated by hateful laws such as SB1070 has turned this region into a battle ground, brutalizing us and even killing us whether through shootings by Border Patrol or migrants dying in our deserts. This latest incident has shown the Tucson Police and Border Patrol have no interest in caring for this community, no interest in being humane. Derechos Humanos demands we take action and stop this collaboration, stop the deportations, stop the militarization, stop the deaths, and stop police brutality in Tucson.

UPDATE- The three detained by ICE Rosa, Augustin, and Arturo were let out of detention on Thursday. Thanks to all who supported Southside Workers through signing petitions, letter writing, and phone calls. Our community will not be silent. There will be a press conference at Southside Presbyterian Church Friday at 1pm on 23rd St. near 10th Avenue. Derechos Humanos will continue to support them and all others in this struggle for justice!

Links to local news and video footage here