THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

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

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hate Crimes and Policing

6 Mass. boys, ages 11 to 14, charged with severely beating Guatemalan immigrant as he slept

September 8th, 2009

Surprising how you don't hear much about hate crimes against Latinos in these parts. Must have something to do with the way in which we've codified and institutionalized our hate, so it can be enforced as law by police and courts. After all, the Sheriff department's relationship with the migrant community must be good enough that migrants would report to Arpaio if they were being exploited or victimized, wouldn't they? If there was a serial rapist on the loose? If someone was perpetrating hate crimes against their community?
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6 Mass. boys accused of beating sleeping immigrant

BOSTON — Six boys were charged with severely beating a Guatemalan immigrant with bricks, bottles and rocks as he slept near railroad tracks, an attack that civil rights groups decried Tuesday as “hateful.”



Derrek Shulman, New England regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said the July beating of Damian Merida was an example of how immigrants are singled out for attacks.


Police say six boys, ages 11 to 14, beat the 30-year-old Merida in July in Lynn, a city 10 miles northeast of Boston. Merida was hospitalized at Massachusetts General Hospital for a month with serious head injuries. Merida’s brother said the attack caused brain damage.


In a statement, police said the Lynn boys targeted Merida because of his ethnicity. Police also said they were looking into the assault of another Guatemalan immigrant and “the possibility that the attack was not the first perpetrated by these youths.”


The boys, who have not been named, have pleaded not delinquent to charges of civil rights violations, attempted murder and assault with intent to maim. All but one were released and ordered to wear electronic monitoring bracelets. A 14-year-old remains in state Youth Services custody.


Three teenagers and an 11-year-old were suspended indefinitely from their middle schools last week.
Diego Portillo, president of the Boston-based Latino Professional Network, said the boy’s young ages make the alleged crime more shocking.


“Incidents like this are sad reminders that hate continues to exist and spread to our youth,” he said.
Pretrial hearings will be held Oct. 1 in Essex District Juvenile Court.


Family friend Nancy Pye, of Swampscott, told the Daily Item of Lynn that Merida was an illegal immigrant who has lived in the U.S. for the last 15 years.


Family members said Merida had been distraught that a former girlfriend was now married and recently had a child. They told the paper that Merida had been drinking a lot around the time of the attack.


Merida is now at Tewksbury State Hospital for rehabilitation treatment.


Lynn police and immigrant activists say other Guatemalan immigrants have recently reported being attacked in Lynn. However, they say most immigrants won’t report the beatings or cooperate with police because they are undocumented.

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resisting the hate, from the locals in Lynn, MASS:
LYNN - A bank account has been established on behalf of Guatemalan immigrant Damian Merida who was savagely beaten near to death on July 22 by a group of Lynn juveniles.

Merida, 30, was transferred this week from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to a Tewksbury rehabilitation center, but his medical condition remains dour.

Six boys, ranging in age from 11 to 14, have been arrested for attempted murder and other charges related to the unprovoked attack. Merida was asleep near the commuter railroad tracks abutting Robert McManus Field when the boys allegedly pounced and beat him senseless with bricks, sticks, rocks and bottles.

According to Lynn Police Lt. William Sharpe, the boys assaulted Merida because of his ethnicity. Merida suffered massive head injuries, internal damage and broken bones. The defendants have posted bail and are awaiting pre-trial hearings.

School officials have not announced whether the boys will be allowed to return to classes when the academic year begins next week.

Family friend Nancy Pye of Swampscott said Merida is an illegal alien living in the United States for the past 15 years. As a result, the bank account was set up at Sovereign Bank in the name of Merida's brother, Alfredo Pojoy of Lynn, a U.S. Citizen.

Donations can be made at any Sovereign Bank branch, paid to The Damian Merida Medical Fund.

Merida's mother, Teofila, has been at his bedside daily since the attack.

"It was a horrific attack. She's distraught over his injuries and the lifetime care that she was told he will need," said Pye, noting the family is weighing whether Merida should return to Guatemala. Pye said she has offered to pay the airfare.

Merida worked as a landscaper, carpenter's helper and assisted Pye at her florist business in an effort to support his mother.

"Damian gave his mother money for food and the rent," said his sister, Maria Gonsalez of Lynn. "He worked very hard."

Gonsalez lashed out at the Juvenile Court judge for allowing the boys to post bail. The judge was seemingly swayed by coaches and others who spoke in their behalf, she said.

Gonsalez said her brother had drunk alcohol and fallen asleep outdoors on the day of the beating after learning that his former girlfriend was married and with child.

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