because we found it: Arizonan police officer speaks up against SB 1070 “Nazis”
As human rights groups focus our attention on those affected by Arizona’s harsh immigration law (SB 1070), we begin to sympathize with the racially oppressed and the numerous accounts of deportation. Cuentame, a Latino political advocacy non-profit, attempts to shift our focus by filming a direct enforcer of the law – Arizonan police officer Paul Dobson. Dobson’s testimony in the video feels like a confession for all officers, as we learn that SB 1070 has been unjustly silencing them, too.
“This law will make me feel like a Nazi out there,” said Dobson, a Squaw Peak Precinct patrolman with 20 years on the force.
Dobson is actually the only Arizonan to have answered Cuentame’s request for a video of anyone affected by the law.
“It was amazingly striking,” said Alex Caballero, co-creator of the video for Cuentame’s “Do I look Illegal?” campaign. “I didn’t think he would use that strong of language because of the cautiousness (around the issue).”
Dobson faces the consequences, as expected. He is being investigated for sharing his thoughts publicly without the permission of a supervisor and faces a written reprimand or a minor form of discipline, police told the Arizona Republic.
Despite the consequences, Dobson uses this video as an opportunity to confess that he does not tolerate SB 1070. After all, the state of Arizona leaves officers like Dobson to do the dirt work – that is, arrest those believed to be illegal immigrants based on “reasonable suspicion.” Dobson paints for the viewers of his emotional video a disturbing portrait of his life post July 29, when SB 1070 went into effect.
“As a law enforcement officer, I am required to serve and protect,” he said. “So, under SB 1070, I know that people will not call officers in a case of a real emergency. It’s horrifying. It violates our calling to serve and protect.”
In addition to investigating Dobson, Phoenix’s police union, which supports the new law, wants the city’s police chief, Jack Harris, investigated for his federal testimony in opposition to SB 1070.
“The allegation here is not comparable,” said Sgt. Trent Crump, a Phoenix police spokesman. “To think that an organizational leader doesn’t have the right to represent the organization is absurd.”
Two months ago, police chiefs around the U.S. expressed their concerns over the law to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, saying the law will strain relationships between officers and citizens and drain resources trying to enforce the law.
There are seven lawsuits pending against Arizona over SB 1070, including one filed by the Department of Justice.
Despite these legal challenges, SB 1070 continues to survive as it silences both police officers, whose freedom of speech is limited, and immigrants, whose right to equal protection under the law is imperiled. In June, Arizona began training its police officers to enforce the new law. A video which officers are required to watch emphasizes that SB 1070 does not condone racial profiling.
Dobson ignores any backlashes from the police units. Cuentame’s Ofelia Yanez notes this officer’s bold exposure of the truth.
She writes on a blog, “I asked him multiple times if he would like me to change his name, blur his face, or alter his voice in concern of his safety back home. Every time he thanked me for my offer and re-assured me that he didn’t need me to protect him. He admitted to being afraid of a backlash, but not surprisingly he then said one simple sentence that gave me chills: ‘Bring it on.’”
July 22, 2010 by Priya
Tags: Arizona, Attorney General Eric Holder, b-listed, breakthrough, Cuentame, Department of Justice, Do I look illegal?, equal protection, freedom of speech, human rights, immigration, Jack Harris, Paul Dobson, racial profiling, Restore Fairness, SB 1070, Sgt. Trent Crump