Derechos Humanos shared LUPE Tucson's post.
Lucha Unida de Padres y Estudiantes
February 17, 2017
On Thursday February 16th, 2017 we were met with police brutality by the Tucson Police Department. We L.U.P.E (Lucha Unida de Padres y Estudiantes), organized a peaceful rally in front of the Federal Building in Downtown Tucson, AZ, against the recent ICE raids and in solidarity with the National Day Without Immigrants. Approximately 200 community allies including children, students, elders, undocumented immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community, and refugees peacefully gathered, chanted and heard from community leaders.
After leaders spoke on the recent nationwide ICE raids and on the continued terrorization of our immigrant communities, we began to march at the corner of Congress and Granada. Approximately fifty feet into the march a Police SUV drove into the crowd, almost hitting one of the organizers, blocking the march as protesters dodged their way around the vehicle. Without provocation, a protester was then unjustly arrested as he directed the crowd to safety.
As we attempted to de-escalate the situation, an increasing number of officers began using excessive force violently throwing people on to the pavement. As protesters attempted to assist injured people, police further escalated the situation by assaulting and pepper spraying elderly women and children.
Cries of “HELP ME, HELP ME” resonated through the crowd as one of the leaders of Tucson Black Lives Matter was pepper sprayed, pushed to the ground, pulled by her hair, and dragged to the sidewalk, and later into the SUV where she was arrested.
At least a dozen people, including two children, a retired teacher, a nurse, and two legal observers were inhumanely pepper sprayed directly in the face and the cloud of pepper spray reached the rest of the crowd, resulting in a total of four people being arrested.
At that point, due to safety concerns we decided to end the march for the well-being of those involved.
As an immigrant rights action committee, L.U.P.E takes the safety and security of all participants very seriously and we continue to work in ensuring the protected participation of all, to the best of our ability. Our responsibility to the Tucson immigrant community and to all oppressed peoples is unwavering and uncompromising.
Overwhelming video evidence and testimonies confirm that as we attempted to comply with police orders we were confronted and outnumbered by a militarized police force. These actions directly contradict Tucson police Chief Magnus´ statement from Feb 9th, 2017 “I want our department position to be clear, we are committed, and in fact duty bound, to protecting and preserving the civil, constitutional, and human right of all residents and visitors to our city.”
We the people, gathered yesterday against the recent nationwide attacks on our communities by ICE, and we continue to oppose all collaboration of local law enforcement and officials with immigration enforcement agents.
We demand from our city officials:
1. AN END TO POLICE VIOLENCE AND BRUTALITY FROM TUCSON POLICE DEPARTMENT
2. THE STOP OF THE CRIMINALIZATION OF PEOPLE OF COLOR
3. END THE COLLABORATION BETWEEN LAW ENFORCEENT AND BORDER PATROL
4. CONCRETE LEGISLATION THAT PROTECTS AND DEFENDS OUR IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY
5. A COMMUNITY LED INTERNAL INVESTIGATION ON THE ASSAULT BY TPD ON THOSE INVOLVED AND THE IMMEDIATE TERMINATION OF THE OFFICERS INVOLVED
6. DROP THE FABRICATED CHARGES AGAINST THOSE UJUSTLY ARRESTED BY TPD