Police use pepper spray at peaceful protest against sheriff

Posted: January 21st, 2010 by Militant Libertarian

by J.D. Tuccille, Civil Liberties Examiner

At a protest march that Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montinidescribed as “accommodating. Polite, even,” police still found opportunity to hose the crowd down with pepper spray. Organized byPuente Arizona, the January 16 March targeted Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s nativist-courting anti-immigration jihad, which has sent deputies crashing through the doors of homes, businesses and even government offices, and that has many hispanics who came to Arizona from elsewhere wondering if maybe the human rights record back home doesn’t look so bad by comparison.

But if the protest didn’t really touch on Arpaio’s thuggery against people who speak out against him, it sure seemed to offer a taste of the risks of such an approach. People at the scene captured video of officers — specifically, a female Phoenix officer on horseback — spraying the crowd, including families with children, with a substance that appeared to be pepper spray.

In their defense, police say they arrested five “anarchists” and claim that officers were assaulted. That may or may not be true, but it’s not apparent from the video of the mounted officer.


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