Newspoem 4 April 1996
Federal Investigation of Beatings
Civil rights activists calling for a federal investigation
An incident in which Riverside County deputies while clubbing two suspected smugglers of illegal immigrants were videotaped by a TV news helicopter hovering overhead
At least six blows with a night-stick to one suspect even after the man was lying face down on the ground
The second suspect, a woman, grabbed by the hair, pulled from the cab of the pickup, and beaten with his night-stick as reinforcements arrived to handcuff the pair, who appeared to offer no resistance
The TV images that showed at least one other officer striking the woman
A battered, rusty pickup, crammed with at least 20 men and women, pursued by several police cars at speeds approaching 100 mph along a major Southern California freeway.
Two deputies involved in the beatings suspended from active duty and placed on ``administrative leave,'' pending the outcome of an investigation
A call on the Justice Department and the Immigration and Naturalization Service for a full-scale inquiry into the use of force, the baton swinging and the beating of people
The Los Angeles Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights
An ``outcry from the public'' about the videotaped beatings
Local television stations flooded with calls from people who expressed outrage
As many as 20 illegal immigrants in the back of the pickup who jumped out and ran after the vehicle stopped on the shoulder of the freeway in the Los Angeles suburb of El Monte and were rounded up by police and immigration officers after fleeing into a nearby plant nursery and a residential neighborhood being held at a federal detention center in downtown Los Angeles
An officer from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service who told local KCAL television at the scene: ``Smugglers have no conscience with respect to transporting human beings. It's a horrible situation at best.''
Newspoetry at Spineless Books