Some protesters accuse officers of targeting arrests by racePosted: Updated:
This past Thursday, 12 protesters were arrested for their part in a downtown demonstration against SB 1070. Four are speaking out about their experience.
"The police officer said I'm not going to hurt you and walked me away," says Rachel Richardson.
Rachel Richardson, Danielle Alvarado, Layla Hernandez and Jonah Clary were cited and released for misdemeanor disorderly conduct while denouncing Arizona's new immigration law. All four accuse Tucson police officers of targeting protesters by race.
"I was very surprised to see them bypass me twice to go for people with darker skin than me," says Jonah Clary
"We were holding three banners that said we will not comply, the fight goes on and stop all racist laws but the police did not seem to follow the order that we were standing in," says Richardson.
The Tucson police department public information office was not staffed with a spokesperson over the weekend, But captain Michael Gillooly made comments immediately after the demonstration, "Ample time was given for them to leave the intersection after exercising their first amendment rights and the decision was eventually made to arrest those folks who would not leave the intersection voluntarily."
"I don't fault them personally. No, i don't fault the officers for arresting us," says Clary.
The group says it understands why police removed them from the scene. In fact three of them planned their arrests. "People in our broader community said that it was important to send a message of really strong resistance so we committed as a group to being arrested," says Danielle Alvarado.
Independent photographer Layla Hernandez did not, "I was there taking photographs when they started to arrest people. They grabbed my arm and they zip tied my left hand fairly tight."
Hernandez says she does not regret attending the demonstration. All four say there may be more to come.
According to police, 11 suspects were cited for disorderly conduct. One faces a charge of threats and intimidation.