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