Things That Matter

Louisiana Police Detained A US Citizen After A Judge Cleared His Release Because He’s A Latino

On Aug. 31 2018, Ramon Torres was pulled over based on the suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Torres refused to take a breathalyzer test. As a consequence, he was arrested and jailed. The next day, a judge ordered his release, however, he was not immediately let go. Instead, the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office placed Torres on an “immigration hold.” 

Torres is originally from Honduras, but arrived to the United States with his family when he was a child. In 2009, he became a naturalized citizen.  

Those who know Torres, attempted to intervene and supplied the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office with documents, such as his birth certificate, social security card, and U.S. passport, proving that he was a citizen. These documents should have been enough to confirm Torres’ citizenship. Yet, their efforts were ignored and he was kept for a total of four days. 

Torres was released only after his friend hired a lawyer. 

“The increasing national rhetoric of fear and racism around immigration is tearing apart our local communities,” said Katie Schwartzman, the legal director of the ACLU of Louisiana. 

This week,  the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana filed a suit on behalf of Torres. According to the suit, Torres was held for immigration review due to the color of his skin and his Latinx sounding name. It is an example of racial profiling, an act that is both illegal and unconstitutional. 

Torres’ Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights were violated. As a result, the ACLU is seeking to award him compensation for his unlawful detention. 

The ACLU is blaming the harmful rhetoric that is currently being spread throughout the country. The line has to be drawn between local law enforcement and federal immigration. Local authorities are there to protect, but time after time, their actions stem from the damaging comments said by government official and their own racial biases. 

As a reminder, it is not the duty of local law authorities to enforce immigration policies, especially when they are unconstitutional and unjust. Law enforcement should be able to recognize when protocols are wrong to conduct and hold each other accountable in order to do their duty to protect their community instead of harming it. 

Immigrant communities are being unfairly targeted, harassed, and terrorized by the very law enforcement agencies that should be protecting them.

According to the suit filed by the ACLU, Torres asked why he was still being held by law enforcement and received a response by an individual who said it was a policy of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office to automatically hold every Latinx person to conduct a thorough investigation of their immigration status. 

This policy is more than questionable. The intention the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office claims to have is to prove that the people they are holding are U.S. citizens. However, when presented with the right and lawful documents they turn a blind eye. It is not a matter of serving their community. In this case, the deputies are looking to terrorize Latinx folks. It is a tactic that has been used in this country before. For example, sheriff Joe Arpaio who conducted traffic patrols that targeted immigrants in Arizona. Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt because of his tough scare-tactics against immigrants, but was pardoned by Donald Trump when he took office. 

What kind of message does that send to local law authorities? For starters, without accountability, people like Arpaio and those at the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office know that they can get away with harassing Latinx people because they are backed by an administration that shares their same beliefs. Furthermore, it makes it seem okay for the people in power to bully immigrants into hiding. They are demonstrating that Latinx folks are the ‘other’ and it does not matter if they are citizens or not. We aren’t welcome. 

Policies like the one the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office has in place do more harm than good, thus feeding into laws that are rooted in xenophobia.

If it happened to Torres, who is a citizen of the United States, imagine the many people that have to face the same thing every day – some of which may be citizens or are undocumented. People shouldn’t have to worry about carrying multiple forms of identification with them 24/7 or that these documents won’t be enough to support them, but it’s a reality for many due to the unjust profiling that occurs. 

Immigrants are thought of as easy targets, but organizations like the ACLU are attempting to change that by fiercely defending their rights. In their press release, the ACLU states that their goal is to “continue the fight against all forms of anti-immigrant bias and discrimination. The safety and wellbeing of our communities depend on it.” 

‘I Said N*****,’ Racist White Man Yells At Young Black Woman During Road Rage Incident In Louisiana

Things That Matter

‘I Said N*****,’ Racist White Man Yells At Young Black Woman During Road Rage Incident In Louisiana

@ThatGirl_Jess_ / Twitter

A middle-aged white man was caught on camera verbally assaulting a young black woman, repeatedly calling her a ‘stupid, f***ing n*****’ in Louisiana this weekend. The victim, Jessica Fontenot, recorded the entire assault on her phone, and later posted it to Twitter, where it’s reached 3 million views, and nearly 30k retweets at the time of publication. “So this is how my Sunday is going,” Jessica tweeted. “Never called this man out his name never got angry with this man at all! This is what we are living in. I will definitely pray for this man!”

Twitter users have identified the man as Seth Broussard, and are actively ensuring his employer knows how he treats black women on the road.

Jessica Fontenot started recording after the first time Broussard used the racist slur.

Credit: @ThatGirl_Jess_ / Twitter

Broussard rolled down the window of his pickup truck, and seemed to slowly repeat himself, saying “I said you were talking crazy, you stupid, f****** n*****.” In a sarcastically friendly tone, he asked, “Did you get it that time?” He seemed to stop in the middle of the street, and shouted, “I said n*****,” as he sped off. 

Jessica continued to record as she followed him. “Okay, cool. This n***** right here. Wow, y’all. I didn’t even do anything. Didn’t even do anything, y’all,” she told the camera in obvious shock. Then, the man tried to brake check her, suddenly braking, forcing her to swerve out of the way to avoid a collision. “This man right here. Yup. This man right here called me a ‘fucking n*****’. Oh my gosh,” she told the camera as she skillfully evaded a car accident with a road rager, all while attempting to record the assault.

“This is the world we are living in today,” Fontenot calmly tells the camera.

Credit: @ThatGirl_Jess_ / Twitter

As he sped up to the red light, Jessica tells us, “This is what we are living in today. I’m going to record this whole thing. Never called this man out his name or anything.” You can hear Broussard’s screech again as he attempts to cause a collision, braking suddenly. He rolls down his window and sticks his arm out to facetiously, dramatically wave at Jessica. “Wow. That shows you,” Fontenot comments as the light turns green. “You know what? I’m not going to let this man mess up my Sunday. He’s not going to get to me, but it just shows you that we’re still living in this time period, y’all. We’re still going through racism. Shit’s crazy. Old ass man talking to a young black female like that. It’s sad.”

Twitter heard Fontenot when she told us, “I got his license plate. I got his truck. Wow.”

Credit: Josh Arnett / Facebook

Yup. Twitter followed through and identified the man as Seth Broussard. While Broussard has made his social media accounts invisible, Twitter took screenshots. A tweet that listed the email address for HydroChemPSC, the employer Broussard listed on LinkedIn, has been retweeted 1.3k times. The emails and Facebook comments on the company page were so overwhelming, the company spoke out. 

Early Monday morning, HydroChemPSC stated, “HydroChemPSC has been made aware of the video taken on Sunday, November 10 in the Lake Charles area. The individual was not employed with our company when this incident occurred. We understand the concern many of you have expressed and we share that concern. Thank you.” Even though Broussard does not work for the company any longer, HydroChemPSC employees have acknowledged that they know Broussard, effectively corroborating Twitter’s identification of the man.

Justice for Fontenot now lies in the hands of the Lake Charles Police Department.

Credit: @ThatGirl_Jess_ / Instagram

While HydroChemPSC was an aim and a miss, Twitter has now taken to the Lake Charles Police Department Facebook page to utilize public pressure for results. “Any comment on this guy Seth Broussard?” one Facebook user commented on an unrelated post. So far, the police department has not released a comment.

“I hear the hurt in your voice. And I’m so sorry you went through that sister,” one Twitter user commented. “Press charges because he was tryna make y’all wreck into the back of him which is endangering y’all. He’s not gonna have a job pretty soon.” A young black man tweeted, “He would never pull this with a black MAN. Ever. Be careful out here…” Meanwhile, another young black woman tweeted to Jessica, “Don’t pray for him.”

Watch the full video below.

READ: Buffalo Wild Wings Faces Backlash After Booting An African American Family From From Its Restaurant For ‘Racist’ Regular

The Little Girl Crying For Her Father After An ICE Raid In Mississippi Has Finally Been Reunited With Him

Things That Matter

The Little Girl Crying For Her Father After An ICE Raid In Mississippi Has Finally Been Reunited With Him

icegov / Instagram
Credit: Twitter/ @KNX1070

In August, an appalling scene came out of the small town of Morton, Mississippi, where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents detained more than 600 people. ICE agents suspected that after a yearlong investigation, Koch Foods (a food processing plant) had hired hundreds of undocumented people. On the morning of Aug. 7, after many of the workers had dropped off their children at school, they went to work as usual only to be detained by immigration agents. The people were instructed to get on a bus where they would be taken to a detention center. Many of the children didn’t have a ride after school and were left without their parents. One little girl, in particular, captured the heart of many. 

A young girl made national news when she cried out for her dad, who had been detained by ICE. Now, three months later, he has been released. 

Magdalena Gomez Gregorio pleaded on television that she wanted her dad back and that he was not a criminal. The poor girl could bearly speak because she was so emotional. Gomez Gregorio was one of several kids who were left without their parents in what was viewed as the most massive raid in the country’s history.  

“Government, please show some heart,” the 11-year-old girl said in August, according to WJTV. “Let my parent be free and everyone else, please don’t leave the child with cryness [sic] and everything. I need my dad … he’s not a criminal.”

At least 680 people were detained in August. ICE, in a rare move, said they would release at least one parent if both parents were arrested, so the children wouldn’t be completely alone. 

Credit: @astroehlein / Twitter

A couple of days after the raid, the Department of Justice in Mississippi said they would release 30 people based on “humanitarian grounds,” but it was unclear if one of Gomez Gregorio’s parents was released during that time. 

“As part of HSI procedures pursuant to this operation, if HSI encountered two alien parents with minor children at home, HSI released one of the parents on humanitarian grounds and returned that individual to the place from which they were arrested. HSI similarly released any single alien parent with minor children at home on humanitarian grounds and physically returned that person to the place where he or she was originally detained. Based on these procedures, it is believed that all children were with at least one of their parents as of last night,” the Department of Justice in Mississippi stated

The little girl’s dad, Andres Gomez-Jorge, was finally released from detention after his friends and family raised $7,500 for his bond.

Credit: @PNS_News / Twitter

CNN reports that the family is back together again, including with their mom. The main problem now is that they both are out of work. According to the network, Gomez-Jorge has to support his family of six, and as of now, are only surviving from generous donations. 

While agents say, they had been investigating the food plant for a year, after detaining more than 600 people, only 11 people were prosecuted. 

Owners of the food plant, the ones responsible for doing the hiring, were never charged for their participation in hiring people with fraudulent information. 

Credit: @newfoodeconomy / Twitter

“These are not new laws, nor is the enforcement of them new,” then-acting ICE director Matt Albence said in August, according to CNN. 

“The arrests today were the result of a year-long criminal investigation. And the arrests and warrants that were executed today are just another step in that investigation.”

However, not much came out of that raid that instilled fear in the Latino community. We should note that the ICE raid in Mississippi occurred just days after the El Paso shooting that left 22 people dead and another 24 injured. 

READ: Two Kids Were Left Alone For Eight Days After Their Parents Were Detained In The Mississippi ICE Raids