I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Copwatch, MCSO, and Proof of Citizenship

Robert Mcelwain has a blog that I'm linking to here which describes a recent Phoenix (MCSO) copwatch I was also on - we were just on different teams that night - these might even be different nights.

Anyway, I looked back through the coverage Matt and I got Thursday. It was kind of disturbing to reflect on this heavily militarized, SWAT-themed crew of MCSO trucks and unmarked black Explorers, all the K-9s they could round up, and more gear on their bodies than the marines even try to carry prowling through the streets. They had flackjackets on, unmarked cars around the corner for back-up, all sorts of weapons at the ready: They could drug you, gas you, electrocute you, bomb you, shoot you with several varieties of bullets. This was the show for the cameras: there was no mistaking who would win in the case of revolution - the state is in absolute control, should the natives be getting a little restless. The state will kick our ass. Guerilla warfare needs a complete overhaul.

Anyway, I don't think the MCSO was engaged in either military exercises or crime-stopping activity on Thursday night. They were just doing their usual, pre-announced racial-profiling thing: pulling over people who look like immigrants (??) on traffic stops, then doing the whole ID check on everyone in the vehicle. Twice, after we waited with cars for a long time it turned out that the hold-up was someone trying to get their ID, because as soon as this woman or teenage boy came up and showed the cop the right document, they were all free to go. At least they let someone run home to get it.

So, does this all mean that if I don't carry proof of citizenship on me, I could be detained until I proved my legal status? My whole family could be detained at a traffic stop because I didn't carry my green card that morning? Isn't there a presumption of innocence on my side - a presumption, in this case of legitimacy - and doesn't the state then bear the burden of proving that I am not a citizen, rather than me having to prove that I am?

I also wonder what the outcome of some of these stops might have been if we weren't present, visible, documenting everything that was done. There's no question the cops knew who we were and what we were doing there.

Follow-up July 28, 2009 - Here's the link to the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan's blog post, which answers some of those questions. Very disturbing.

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