Things That Matter

The Arrest Of A Street Vendor By A California Police Officer Is Sparking Outrage On Social Media

A video of a police officer arresting a woman selling flowers outside of a high school graduation has recently gone viral on social media. The video shows a Latina woman being wrestled to the ground as the officer tries to restrain her. The video drew strong reactions from people who believe the police officer used too much force.

Here is the video of the street vendor arrest that has gone viral all over social media.

Apparently, selling flowers is a crime?! If we don’t fight bac…

Apparently, selling flowers is a crime?! If we don’t fight back in sheer numbers, then we will always suffer this kind of treatment.

Posted by Blacktivist on Monday, July 17, 2017

The arrest took place on June 6, 2017 outside of the graduation ceremony of Perris High School, according to The Riverside Press-Enterprise. The woman was selling flowers and Hawaiian leis while people were leaving the ceremony and stuck in traffic because of the ceremony.

The viral video and an inquiry from the Press-Enterprise reporter prompted the Riverside Sheriff’s Office to release a full statement about the incident. People have flooded the police department’s Facebook page with messages to express their outrage at the treatment of the woman, who was later identified as Juanita Mendez-Medrano.

“This municipality is poorly represented by this police department. From the looks of it you will soon abandon this page because of all the criticism you are rightfully receiving,” wrote Pablo Otavalo. “Grabbing that woman by the hair in order to throw her to the ground is a disgusting display of power afforded to your officers only by a badge they tarnish with this behavior. Every abuse of power delegitimizes your work and is an insult to the whatever good officers you may have. This officer has shamed your department and shamed your community. People should be sure to let the Mayor know @MayorMichaelVargas.”

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the Perris Police Department, released a statement yesterday about the arrest. The statement directly addresses the viral video and criticizes the video for only showing part of the altercation and not what led up to the incident. According to the statement from the police department, Mendez-Medrano was one of 15 vendors that were told to disperse because they did not have city permits to sell merchandise and were creating a safety hazard by going into the street to sell the drivers.

However, KTLA interviewed a man who was present during the incident and he disagreed with the claims by the officers. “A safety hazard… maybe if they were out in the streets, in the middle of he streets, but they were at the corner of a high school and the parking lot,” witness Jason Hernandez told KTLA. “They were not going up to cars directly.”


READ: A California Police Department Shut Down Street Vendors and “Bragged” about it on Twitter

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A City Claims A Family Can’t Sue Over A Wrongful Death Because Undocumented People Don’t Have Rights Under Constitution

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A City Claims A Family Can’t Sue Over A Wrongful Death Because Undocumented People Don’t Have Rights Under Constitution

The original wording of the Fourth Amendment in the Constitution stated, that “‘each man’s home is his castle,’ secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government. It protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.” A revised version states, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” In other words, authorities cannot probe into people’s private information, home or belongings, without probable cause. Those laws apply to everyone, right? That’s not what some officials in one city in the United States believe. They’re claiming those laws do not apply to undocumented immigrants. 

In 2017, police were called to check on a domestic abuse suspect in Southaven, Mississippi. They went to the wrong house and shot and killed Ismael Lopez. 

Credit: Local 24 Memphis / YouTube

On a late Sunday evening, in July of 2017, police were called to serve a warrant for the arrest of a suspected domestic abuser named Samuel Pearman. His address was 5878 Surrey Lane, CNN reported, and police ended up going to a mobile home across the street where Ismael Lopez lived with his wife. Police entered Lopez’s home and ended up shooting him in the back of the head. He died on the scene. 

“It is so troubling to learn that not only this man died but that this man died running away from people who were trespassing on his premises after he was in bed lawfully,” Murray Wells, an attorney representing the Lopez’s family, told reporters, according to CNN

The Lopez family filed a $20 million lawsuit for his death after a jury failed to indict the police officers on the scene. The City of Southaven fired back with their own lawsuit saying Lopez has no rights under the constitution because he was an undocumented immigrant.

Credit: Local 24 Memphis / YouTube

This case is like most cases involving the police, the investigation had conflicting reports. Lopez’s wife claims the police came in unannounced, and the lawyer says bullet holes outside of the home support her story. The police say that Lopez pointed a gun at them. However, Lopez’s wife said that wasn’t the case. The police also shot and killed their dog. City attorneys are also questioning the credibility of Lopez’s widow, with claims they were never married, and that she was married to multiple men. Lopez’s attorney showed the documents to prove they were legally married in 2003. 

“It’s a real shame that they have to use these tactics to soil someone’s name when she lost her partner, the love of her life, in a tragic accident,” attorney Aaron Neglia said according to the Washington Post

So, does the constitution protect undocumented immigrants? The answer is a resounding yes even though the matter is still taken up in courts all the time.

Credit: Local 24 Memphis / YouTube

“Yes, without question,” Cristina Rodriguez, a professor at Yale Law School told PBS. “Most of the provisions of the Constitution apply on the basis of personhood and jurisdiction in the United States.”

Undocumented immigrants have the right to legal counsel, under the Sixth Amendment, they also have the right to due process under the Fifth Amendment. So, if the courts are already practicing the law under the constitution when it applies to undocumented immigrants, then the Fourth Amendment and all of them for that matter apply to them as well. 

Southaven attorneys have a different point of view. According to the Washington Post, attorney Katherine S. Kerby wrote, “If he ever had Fourth Amendment or Fourteenth Amendment civil rights, they were lost by his own conduct and misconduct. Ismael Lopez may have been a person on American soil but he was not one of the ‘We, the People of the United States’ entitled to the civil rights invoked in this lawsuit.”

We shall see how this case plays out in court.

Watch the full news report below.

READ: Advocacy Groups Suing ICE For Mass Raid In Tennessee, Claiming They Violated Workers’ Constitutional Rights

Woman Records Scene Inside Family Car As ICE Pulls Husband Out While Daughters Cry And Scream

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Woman Records Scene Inside Family Car As ICE Pulls Husband Out While Daughters Cry And Scream

Milwaukee Police Department is facing backlash after officers with the department were caught on camera helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) execute an arrest. The collaboration is troubling for the immigrant community in Milwaukee because Chief of Police Alfonso Morales previous said that local law enforcement would not collaborate with the immigration officials. Several police departments across the country, including Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco, have stated that they would not adhere to federal mandates by helping out ICE when looking for backup and/or information during their raids. Other cities, police departments have been mandated to cooperate with ICE.

The Milwaukee Police Department is accused of assisting ICE to detain a father who now leaves behind his wife and three daughters.

Credit: Kristine De la Cruz / Facebook

The Milwaukee Police Department released the following statement, according to the Shepherd Express that expresses they assisted ICE because they were requested to: 

“Enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws is the responsibility of the federal government, particularly the United States Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Accordingly, the Milwaukee Police Department does not unilaterally undertake immigration-related investigations and does not routinely inquire into the immigration status of persons encountered during police operations. This prohibition does not preclude the department from cooperating with federal immigration officials when requested, or from notifying those officials in serious situations where a potential threat to the public is perceived.”

The only reason the public is aware of this detainment by ICE and the Milwaukee Police Department is because of a local immigration organization was informed of the detainment as soon as it was happening and recorded the entire thing.

Credit” Voces de la Frontera / Facebook

Voces De La Frontera was informed that  Jose Alejandro De la Cruz-Espinoza was being detained as he was parked outside of his house after his wife called them on their hotline. The hotline was set up for any undocumented immigrant to request help. The video shows individuals confronting police officers and asking them if they had a warrant, and if they had shown the warrant to De la Cruz-Espinoza family. 

An immigration advocate asked a Milwaukee police officer why he was there helping ICE, the officer said that they just happen to be in the area.

Credit: Voces de la Frontera / YouTube

The unnamed man tells the officer “we pay your taxes, you’re supposed to be working for us.” The officer responds by saying, “that’s why we are here, to make sure you don’t meddle in their business.” 

“I just can’t believe the Milwaukee Police Department is collaborating with ICE.”

Credit: Voces de la Frontera / YouTube

The heartbreaking video shows the moment that De la Cruz-Espinoza steps out of the car and his daughters are there screaming and crying. A woman in the video, who Voces De La Frontera said is his wife, said in the video that ICE agents reached into her car through the window and unlocked it. “They wouldn’t let us say goodbye, they wouldn’t let us hug him. Nothing,” according to a Voces de la Frontera press release. “They physically dragged my daughters out of the car, and they did not provide a search warrant. They terrorized my family.”  

The video also has the immigration advocate saying “Chief Morales is gonna love to see police collaborating with ICE.”

Late last year, according to the Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee Police Department Chief Morales said that the immigration community should not fear the police and that they would not work with ICE. “I promised to bring back the public trust. My job is to bring (back) trust from the community and work with them; my job is not to go out and enforce those types of laws.” He did say, however, that the police would work with ICE in the cases of “homicides, armed robberies or high-level drug offenses.” He added, “We are not a sanctuary city — we’re here to enforce the laws,” Morales said.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Milwaukee, released the following statement: 

“At a time when the MPD and Chief Morales should be focusing on improving practices and rebuilding damaged relationships with the community, their decision to join in immigration enforcement undermines the confidence and trust of Milwaukee residents. Having local police participate in immigration enforcement also makes our city less safe. When people believe that police officers will enforce immigration laws against them, they become less willing to report crime or serve as witnesses for fear that the police will help deport them. Moreover, this arrest ran counter to the intent and spirit of MPD’s own Standard Operating Procedure 130, and prior statements by Chief Morales. It must end.”

Here’s a video shot by De la Cruz-Espinoza’s wife from inside the car.

Video of Alex being arrested illegally this morning. A Milwaukee Police Officer reached in my car and unlocked the doors without a warrant.

Posted by Kristine De la Cruz on Monday, September 23, 2019

A Gofundme page has been set up for the family. Click here if you’d like to help.

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