Posts Tagged ‘Tucson’

Quiz time, when we say Tequila Party, what do you think of first?

A. This picture from college

B. This dance from one of the greatest movies ever

C. This bar scene

D. A well-intentioned grass-roots political movement out of Arizona that actually has some great points to make about immigration reform but has a name that makes a mockery of the movement, so much so that the movement won’t even gain any traction at all

If you think that Dee Dee García-Blasé and other Latino leaders in the United States who support the Tequila Party are just making a mockery of real Latino issues, then take a moment and go here. Let them know that political perception is all reality.


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With an official Pima County video now made public, more details about the fatal shooting of US Marine José Guerena from the 60 bullets of a SWAT team are starting to emerging. Below are two videos from The Arizona Daily Star recorded last week depicting the battle of dueling lawyers.

This first video is of attorney Michael Storie, who represents the SWAT officers who were involved in the shooting of Guerena in his own Tucson home.

The second video is of attorney Christopher Scileppi, who is representing Guerena’s family.

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Former US Marine José Guerena, killed in his Tucson home by the SWAT team

Three weeks to the day that the body of US Marine José Guerena was riddled with 60 bullets by the Pima Country Sheriff Department’s SWAT team in Tucson, the department released the following statement:

Officer Involved Shooting - Update

May 26, 2011
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department is making initial case material available 
regarding the May 5, 2011 SWAT warrant service. 
These materials include: the initial case report, interviews transcribed to date, the 911 
call, and the Pima Regional SWAT audio and video. They are available for pick-up at 
the Pima County Sheriff’s Department Records Unit.

The Department is still unavailable to speak on the case until it is fully completed. The 
Sheriff will determine, at a later date, when to address media interview requests. We 
appreciate your cooperation and patience, as this is an ongoing investigation.
Additional information will be made available as the investigation continues.

Deputy Jason S. Ogan 
Public Information Officer
Pima County Sheriff’s Department
(520) 351-3121

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A lengthy and telling raw video from Tucson’s KGUN 9 TV station presents the official view from the Pima County Sheriff’s Department regarding the brutal home slaying of US Marine Jose Guerena on May 5.

Former US Marine José Guerena, killed in his Tucson home by the SWAT team

Guerena was shot at 71 times by a SWAT team. 60 of the bullets struck Guerena’s body, as his wife frantically called 911 for medical care. Reports from Mexican TV claim that Guarena was mistakenly identified as a terrorist, although, according to Pima County Department Lt. Michael O’Connor, Guerena was suspected of being part of a narcotics conspiracy. The Huffington Post reported that the shooting was a result of a “botched pot raid.”

O’Connor, who was interviewed at length, at one point called the tragedy “a dynamic scene.”

Here are three video segments that reveal what O’Connot said to KGUN:

Segment 1

Segment 2

Segment 3

Here is one excerpt from the WGUN video:

O’Connor:  “This case involves a narcotics conspiracy case, which  means that we are looking for a lot of different narcotics related material.   That can be drug ledgers, scales, anything that would be in furtherance of this narcotics conspiracy.  And it involved all four residents that we were looking at in that quarter mile of so of each other.”

O’Connor:  “We did find things that we were asking for in that.  It may have been drug ledgers, narcotics paraphernalia, any other connecting material between the residences.  Those things were found, in addition to a large sum of money.  Somewhat larger that what you would expect to find in anyone’s home.”

WGUN:  “Can you say if that was the residence where the shooting happened?”

O’Connor:  “No, it was one of the four, but it was not that residence.”

WGUN:  “In that specific residence, did you find anything related to drugs, drug money, in that specific residence.”

O’Connor:  “We found information that was pertinent to this drug conspiracy case, yes.  I’m not going to go into details on what those things were.  But it was connecting material to the drug conspiracy.”

Here is another excerpt:

WGUN: “So it’s your, it’s the Pima County Sheriff’s Department position, that this individual who was shot and killed was well aware of who he was targeting?”

O’Connor:  “Well, I’m not going to begin to think what was going through his mind. What I can tell you is what precipitated this.  And that was, law enforcement in uniform responding to the scene in marked police cars, with marked police cars not only with their lights going, but also with their sirens going.  And then not just one, but several of those.  So I can’t explain what was going through his mind when this happened.  What I can tell you is what we did to make this as safe a situation as we could.”

O’Connor:  “It appears that it was 71 rounds were fired.”

WGUN:  “Someone on the street might perceive that as excessive force.  In your opinion as a law enforcement officer, was it?”

O’Connor:  “No, it’s not, for a couple of reasons.  One, this was an operation being conducted by SWAT members.  They have  special weapons when they’re doing this. Also, where this occurred:  There were five officers at the door beginning to make entry into this home, when they engaged this individual that they believed was actually firing at them.  They’re going to fire until that threat is no longer.  And in this case, they fired those rounds in approximately seven seconds.  So, it may sound like it’s a high number.   But when you have five officers firing semi-automatic weapons, that can be done in less than seven seconds, and that’s what happened in this case.”

O’Connor:  “Part of what was going on is that this house, the interior of this house is, the walls are somewhat darker color.  The roof is painted a very dark color.  So when the officers came in, they saw they were confronted with a very dark room.  This individual was in a hallway looking right at them, crouched with a weapon.  When they saw this and the weapon coming up and he made that statement, some of the officers began to fire that are in this cone — right at the front door — began to fire.  Some of the officers hit the door frame and there was splintering at the door frame as they were firing.  This was falling on some of the other officers.  One of the officers has a shield, and when he fired, he starts to fall backwards.  Some of the officers thought that officer had been shot, and were starting to drag him out of the fray.  So this was a very dynamic scene, a very dangerous situation for the officers that were there, and obviously dangerous for the victim, this individual who was shot, who brought this all on himself by presenting himself the way he did.  There is no way around it.  We have to serve search warrants. It’s a part of our job.  We do the best we can of making it apparent that this is what we are doing.  But sometimes people have reasons for doing what they do.  I can’t explain it.”

O’Connor:  “The neighbors have been interviewed…. They said that the lights and sirens were on.  Were they actually on?  Did the neighbors hear that?  This has been consistent.  The neighbors said they heard the officers yelling, screaming, ‘Police! Sheriff’s Department!’ Lights sirens… We’ll take this case to the County Attorney’s office.”

O’Connor:  “We thought that the wife was going to be gone with the two children to school.  As it turns out, only one went to school, and the other one was still in the house with the mother.  That’s something we try to anticipate, we try to make it as safe as possible. In this case, she was still there.”

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Vanessa Guarana, widow of slain US Marine José Guerena

A Mexican news report states that the SWAT team that put 60 bullets into the body of slain US Marine José Guerana had mistaken Guerana for a terrorist. This latest event in Pima County only adds more tension to the recent violence and anti-immigrant hate that has enveloped the city of Tucson. The following video, in Spanish, adds details about this tragic occurrence of Guerana, who as a native of Mexico.

Guerana’s widow, Vanessa, also appeared on Tucson’s Channel 9. Here is a transcript of that interview:

Guerena: “I was getting some clothes to change in because I was like waking up. So I opened a little bit like the blinds just a little bit, like in half. So he told me mommy could you turn on the TV so I did. Probably the volume was like a four or five. So he was like hugging me to say good morning, when I saw this guy like point me [makes gun gesture]. So I got scared, and I got like, ‘Please don’t shoot, I have a baby.’ So I got my baby and put my bag into the window. And I yell, ‘Jose, Jose, wake up!” … He woke up like scared, he barely had two hours’ sleep, he was coming from job. When he came out of the room, the only thing he told me, ‘Vanny, go into the closet.”

Guerena: “I wasn’t gonna go, but I did. … I wasn’t even closing the door, when I start listening to those, like, a lot of shots, a bunch of them. When that stops, I left my kid in there… I went out, and I saw lots of men at the window, a bunch of them. They were saying, ‘We’re the SWAT team.”

Guerena: “The last thing I thought I was gonna see was Jose on the floor with all this blood and stuff. And he was just saying, ‘Uh, uh.’ And I couldn’t help him. So I called the 911 to have the ambulance. And they told me they were on their way.”

Waldman: “At any point, did you hear them yell ‘police’ or ‘SWAT?'”

Guerena: “No.”

Waldman: “At any point, did you hear sirens outside?”

Guerena: “No.”

Guerena: “When I went out, five or ten minutes, I don’t know how long, until my kid went outside. When he saw this, when he saw all this police outside, the only thing he asked me, was, ‘Mom, my dad was a bad guy? They killed my dad?'”

Guerena: “By that moment, I was like, they’re gonna take care of him, they’re gonna take him to the hospital. And I was like calm at that point. But after two or three hours they told me, ‘I’m sorry, but your husband passed away.”

Waldman: “Were you able to talk to Jose at all? Was he responding in any way before you left?”

Guerena: “He never talked to me. The last words that he told me were, ‘Vanny, go into the closet. That’s it. If I wouldn’t listen to him, Oh, My God. I would have been killed too… They would have killed me too, and my kid.”

Waldman: “As far as you know, did Jose have anything to do with drugs?”

Guerena: “Oh, no, you can check, they can check, everything… They didn’t get anything at the house. They stole stuff, like my ring, his wallet, stuff like you can’t even imagine, personal stuff.”

Waldman: “What do you want to know?”

Guerena: “Why? Why? Why did they do this to him? Justice. I want justice. I was justice for my kid.”

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Former US Marine José Guerena, killed in his Tucson home by the SWAT team

Reports out of Tucson have published a harrowing 911 call, where a woman describes the deadly situation in her home, as her husband, former US Marine José Guerena, lied dying on the ground, the victim of a SWAT raid that killed Guerena in a barrage of 71 gunshots.

As the Arizona Daily Star reports:

Often through tears and sometimes in broken English, Vanessa Guerena, tells 911 operators that her husband had been shot by a “bunch of people” who opened the door of their southwest-side home and “just shoot him.” Meanwhile, dispatchers worked to determine if she was calling from a house where the SWAT team was serving a search warrant, audio released Friday by Drexel Heights Fire Department reveals. It takes about an hour for waiting medics to know what happened, and the man is dead before fire crews are allowed into the home.
Jose Guerena, 26, a former Marine, was sleeping after the graveyard shift at Asarco Mission mine about 9:30 a.m. when his wife woke him saying she heard noises outside and a man was at their window. Guerena told his wife to hide in a closet with their 4-year-old son, his wife has said. He grabbed an AR-15 rifle and moments later was slumped in the kitchen, mortally wounded from a hail of gunfire.
For about five minutes after Guerena was shot, his wife stays on the phone trying to explain what happened and asking for an ambulance.
More than a week later, few details about the investigation that brought the SWAT team to the home Guerena shared with his wife and their two young sons are known. Details of the search warrant have not been made public and deputies would not comment on what was seized from the home.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department has provided no details about the investigation that prompted the raid and little information about the moments leading up to 71 gunshots being fired at Guerena, whose gun had the safety on. He was shot 60 times, doctors told the family. Initially the Sheriff’s Department said Guerena fired at officers, but they retracted that this week. Drexel Heights provided audio of the 911 calls after the Star filed a public records request.

The following YouTube video is a recording of the 911 call:

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A word that has ignited extreme feelings all over the country.

To some, Arizona is Nazi Germany, a place where rights are suppressed and documents are presented to prove citizenship.

To others, Arizona is a patriot bastion that has pitched a new American Civil War against the federal government, human rights, and illegal immigrants from Mexico.

Convicted murdered and Minutemen leader Shawna Forde

This week, events in Arizona only added more fuel to the struggle. First, a Tucson jury sentenced convicted murderer and Minuteman vigilante Shawna Forde to death for the murders of American citizens 29-year old Raul Flores and his 9-year-old daughter Brisenia. The murder, which occurred during a May 2009 home invasion of the Flores home, did not gain much mainstream media attention, although major outlets like CNN and CBS News did report about Forde’s death sentence.

Raul and Brisenia Flores

As Flores’ wife Christina González said on Tuesday:

“I miss my husband, I miss my daughter, I miss my family, I miss my life … and that’s all because of a choice she made,” referring to Forde.

CNN reported that prosecutors successfully argued that Forde’s motive was to steal cash and drugs to help fund Forde’s activist group. Police found jewelry from Flores’ home in Forde’s possession. Forde was the leader of the Minutemen American Defense group, an organization that supported stricter border enforcement and deportation of all illegal immigrants.

As Forde awaits her fate, some videos about her on YouTube paint a picture of her thoughts and opinions. In this first video from local Arizona TV, Forde shares her thoughts about why illegal immigration is ruining America.

A website called Justice For Shawn Forde still maintains her innocence, even though Forde was tried properly to the fullest letter of the law. The site claims the following about interview Forde had given to a journalist last year:

In an 11th hour move, Shawna Forde, who has been held incommunicado for over 2 weeks by the jail, called her supporters and insisted that she was misquoted in a hasty 10 minute interview she gave to a yellow journalist with the dirtbag. She says she doesn’t appreciate being characterized as a criminal, and she is innocent of all charges.  Further legal actions are pending.  Shawna indicated she is now willing to speak to media and to answer all questions asked, and directs journalists to the media section of this website. She will grant no interviews unless the parties have been screened through The Committee for Justice for Shawna Forde first.

Here is a video of Forde and her claims that she was protecting CIA agents who were tracking Mexican drug cartels around the border.

On the same site, a post that supports Forde’s innocence contains the following:

In America, accused murderers like Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers and Black Panther Huey Newton, as well as O. J. Simpson, have been acquitted in cases where there was far more evidence of guilt than there was in the Shawna Forde case. Newton and Simpson are black.  Ayers is white but hates America.  Forde is white and loves America.  That makes her a viable scapegoat in today’s politically correct atmosphere

The website also contains a video from a Minuteman YouTube page that has received over 2 million views since July, 2009. The video speaks to the US Government’s lawsuit against Arizona’s controversial anti-immigration bill SB 1070, which passed last year.

With regards to SB1070, the Arizona state legislature is about to vote on a more controversial measure that would severely limit human rights and create a situation that would lead to greater possibilities of racial profiling of Latinos and unjust discrimination. As reported by The New York Times this week, the bill, which passed through committee, will now be considered by the Republican-controlled state legislature. Here are a few excerpts of the article:

Illegal immigrants would be barred from driving in the state, enrolling in school or receiving most public benefits. Their children would receive special birth certificates that would make clear that the state does not consider them Arizona citizens.

Some of the bills, like those restricting immigrants’ access to schooling and right to state citizenship, flout current federal law and are being put forward to draw legal challenges in hopes that the Supreme Court might rule in the state’s favor.

The Times also quoted several people to share their opinions about the bill:

“This bill is miles beyond S.B. 1070 in terms of its potential to roll back the rights and fundamental freedoms of both citizens and noncitizens alike,” said Alessandra Soler Meetze, executive director of the A.C.L.U. of Arizona. She said the measures would create “a ‘papers, please’ society” and that a new crime — “driving while undocumented” — would be added to the books.

“If you are ever going to stop this invasion, and it is an invasion, you have to quit rewarding people for breaking those laws,” said State Senator Russell Pearce, the Senate president, who is leading Arizona’s effort to try to make life so difficult for illegal immigrants that they stop coming, or leave.

“Denying citizenship to children because they have parents without documents is crazy,” said the Rev. Javier Perez, a Roman Catholic priest and immigrant from Mexico who waited in the legislative chamber into the night Tuesday for a chance to speak. “Honestly, I don’t think anything I say will change their minds, but it’s immoral what they’re doing and we have to say this is against the values of America.”

In the meantime, it is very likely that these events will indeed elevate the attention on Arizona. Just like Madison, Wisconsin, the state has becoming a symbol of an America at a crossroads. It will be up to all American citizens to decide which direction our country will take. Nonetheless, whatever the outcome, Raul and Brisenia Flores will never come back to walk this earth. The debate has become too extreme and the fight to stop this ignorance and hate must intensify.

This reminds me of a song by Public Enemy called When The Time I Get to Arizona. The song, which was released in 1991, was written to protest Arizona’s refusal to acknowledge the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr, a national holiday that the rest of the country celebrates. All Americans who believe in justice and human deceny better get to Arizona soon before it becomes the symbol of an America that espouses racist principles and anti-American values. Let the REAL patriots show up.

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