Friday, November 24, 2006

Border vigilante found guilty, must pay $ 98,000 settlement

In a major blow to the border vigilante movement, a jury in the civil trial of Roger Barnett found him guilty Wednesday of intentionally inflicting emotional distress, negligence, unlawful imprisonment and assault. After three hours of deliberations in the Superior Court in Bisbee, Arizona, the jury in the civil trial ruled in favor of the plaintiffs awarding them $98,000.

The charges stem from an October 30, 2004 incident when Roger Barnett, his wife and brother, Donald Barnett stopped Arturo, Ronald, Vanese and Angelique Morales and the girls' friend, Emma English, while the group was on a hunting trip. Upon finding the group on land he leases for grazing livestock from the Arizona State Land Department, Barnett yelled racist obscenities and pointed his chambered, AR-15 assault rifle at the three young girls (ages 11 and 9) and the two men and threatened to kill them.

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The hunters, all of whom are Americans of Mexican decent, said Barnett insulted them with racial slurs and threatened to shoot them - charges Barnett denied. Ronald Morales said he tried to get the county attorney to press criminal charges against Barnett, but was told no jury would convict him.

Morales' attorney, Jesus Romo Vejar, said he hoped the local prosecutor would now reconsider filing criminal charges against Barnett, and he hoped others who had had problems with the rancher also would be encouraged to file civil claims.

"Everybody thought that it was impossible to win in Cochise County, and we proved to them that it's not true," he said.

Romo Vejar called the case "historic" in the county's legal history, and said it was significant a jury of seven whites and one Hispanic ruled against Barnett.

The Morales suit was sponsored by two civil rights groups, the Border Action Network and the Southern Poverty Law Center, who have accused Barnett of abusing the illegal immigrants he detains on his ranch.

Douglas Daily Dispatch

The trial began on November 14th and included emotional and intense testimony from the children, their parents, psychologists, land surveyors, sheriffs' deputy, Arizona Game and Fish employee, and other bow hunters who had also been physically assaulted and barraged with racist insults by Barnett. The families were represented by Jesus Romo Vejar, a long-time civil rights and immigrant rights attorney.

"We're really relieved to see that finally Roger Barnett has been held responsible for the actions he has taken and the violence he has inflicted - and not just against the members of the Douglas community," said Jennifer Allen, director of the Border Action Network. "This also makes a statement to migrants who have been abused that these sorts of actions are, in fact, illegal."

Barnett estimates he has detained and turned over to the Border Patrol between 10,000 and 12,000 illegal immigrants during the past decade.

Barnett declined to comment on the verdict, saying his attorney had advised him not to speak on the matter.

Douglas Daily Dispatch

Barnett, known for dressing in military garb and caps with insignia resembling the United States Border Patrol’s, represents a special prize to the immigrant rights groups. He is ubiquitous on Web sites, mailings and brochures put out by groups monitoring the Mexican border and, with family members, was an inspiration for efforts like the Minutemen civilian border patrols.

“The Barnetts, probably more than any people in this country, are responsible for the vigilante movement as it now exists,” said Mark Potok, legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks the groups. “They were the recipients of so much press coverage and they kept boasting, and it was out of those boasts that the modern vigilante movement sprang up.”


"This is an historic moment," reflects Jennifer Allen, Director of the Border Action Network. "This victory is just the beginning. We can guarantee that every official who tried to sweep this case and issue under the rug and who still has the capacity of bringing criminal charges will hear from us."

"The door has been opened by this very important decision condemning the violence and trauma caused by border vigilantism," continues Allen. "We've already seen the courage the Morales and English girls as well as the jury had for standing up for what is right and fair. Now we are looking for the courage of our public officials to uphold human dignity and end vigilante impunity."

The long-term ramifications of the decision are yet to be assessed, but other border vigilante groups will certainly be affected by the jury's verdict. Vigilante groups have long assumed that they can operate with virtual impunity along the border. Additionally, groups like the Minutemen have expanded their operations further from traditional border areas recently and taken on up a new campaign to root out undocumented immigrants at their jobs and in their homes. This decision will certainly come into play as they continue to expand their reach into areas of enforcement well beyond the commonly accepted legal boundaries

Some additional text courtesy of The Border Action Network.


Proud Anglo said...

Spanish-- yet ANOTHER reason to hate the Beaners

Patriotic Americans can rattle off any number of reasons to demonstrate how our Spic-- oh sorry, "Latino" infestation is the worst plague our country's had since AIDS. Here's another one-- Beaners have truly the worst, stupidest, lamest, laziest, most incompetent, ugliest, most useless f***ed-up language ever made. Spanish is a cultural abbomination that only the Spics could love.

Let's see, in English we have the great writers, and playwrights that everybody in the world wants to imitate, we have Milton, Tolkien, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Austen, the Brontes, Blake, Kipling, Whitman, Poe, Lovecraft, Mellville, Frost, Eliot, Emerson, even modern great writers like King and Grisham. We've got the greatest singers like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Elvis Presley, Aerosmith, U-2, Guns 'n' Roses, Streisand, Sinatra, Martin and Lewis, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey-- you name it, we Anglos dominate it. We've got the greatest TV shows and movies. In short, in all branches of literature, music, TV and movies, English just rules over the pathetic gobbledygook known as "Spanish," 'nuff said.

And in Spanish, what do the Beaners have to match up to English? They've got, oh, uh, lemme see here-- oh yeah, that's right, Julio Iglesias. Since they have such a brilliant-o great-o singer like Julio, this clearly goes to show the great artistic heights of Spanish and Spic culture. NOT.

Oh, yeah, Spanish can also take great pride in its ghetto-pimp, no-talent, ugly, sorry-ass hip-hop dumbass wannabes like Daddy Yankee and Don Ommar or talentless little sluts like Shakira or Paulina Rubia who stink up the airwaves emenating from an otherwise decent radio. Wow, we Anglos are all so impressed by your talent. NOT.

We Anglos-- or maybe gringos, you like that one better?-- we hate your sorry fat asses here in more ways than anyone can count, it's hard to choose, anymore. Spanish is nothing more than noise pollution, and we Americans look forward to the wonderful day when we wouldn't again have to hear any loser mumbling "por favor" or "gracias" here in this Anglo country anymore, that would be almost as great a day as the United States winning WWII since we'd finally get to rid our country of this infestation. And don't even start up with the BS about how "the border crossed us," oh boo-f***ing hoo, this is Anglo turf now-- you Beaners not only lost the Mexican War, you got your SORRY ASSES HANDED to you by the Anglos, no doubt while you were busy goofing around and babbling in your monkey tongue and screwing your senoritas while the Anglos were out there marching on Mexico City. You suck-- just deal with it.

I can think of nothing better than to dedicate myslef to eradicating this verbal diarrhea known as Spanish from the US, as should any patriotic Gringo. The sooner we can rid ourselves of Hispanic stench in all its forms, the better off we'll all be. Have a nice day and don't choke on your tacos, Beaners.


Anglo and Proud of It, the Gringo who haunts your dreams at night

gringo killer said...

you stupid white cracker we mexicans are just begening to grow!!! i go to wok every day and boss peckers around all day i love it!!!! our kind will be here when you devils will be just a memmory!!!

Duke1676 said...

Oh yeah ...that's right the debate over immigration has nothing to do with race. It's all about "the rule of law" right. And the minutemen, they're not racists either, just enforcing the laws of the land. And Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchanan.."it's not about legal immigrants...they're only against illegal immigrants"

Proud Anglo just proves what every American knows...racists like him are what drive the whole immigration issue.

Thanks for making tht so clear to us Proud Gringo you've just given me more amunition for the next time some idiot says "we don't hate immigrants...only illegal immigrants cause they break the law"... good work ther sparky

Dave Muckey said...

Proud Anglo evidently doesn't know about Garcia Lorca, Cervantes or that most of what Washington Irving wrote was in Spanish.
Then again, one shouldn't be surprised by his ignorance.

sappho said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Benito said...

"Proud Anglo evidently doesn't know about Garcia Lorca, Cervantes"

Or Neruda, Borges, Paz, the many US American writers in Spanish-- in fact if anything, the literary tradition in Spanish is the best in the world. Even many English literary experts confess that Cervantes outdoes even Shakespeare in his cleverness and wit. Proud Anglo just deprives himself of this great tradition with his ignorance, though I'm sure he's hardly alone among Gringos in this respect.

"or that most of what Washington Irving wrote was in Spanish."

I never knew that! I'd known that some American authors of the 19th century (even Poe? Melville? Longfellow?) had experimented with Spanish for a few of their works-- I never knew that Mr. Sleepy Hollow himself, one of the most famous of US writers, had done the same.

Man Eegee over at Latino Politico made a brilliant observation on this point that you also allude to, showing how all this rhetoric about "assimilation" and "English for the children," is in fact little more than "soft bigotry," a disguised form of cultural imperialism that attempts to do nothing less than forcibly impose the Anglo-Protestant culture on Latinos-- at our own expense.

Notice that the assimilationist crowd such as Ron Unz and Tamar Jacoby is constantly babbling about how they have our best interests in mind, when in fact they're little more than imperial agents themselves of the Anglo-American Empire-- paid agents if anything-- seeking to forcibly suppress the heritage and culture of Latinos just as their ancestors did with other brutally oppressed groups in the USA (and in Britain) such as the Native Americans, Irish and Germans. The quaint, pleasant fantasy of Ellis Island and willing assimilation is just that, a fantasy, that masks the true history of brutality that the Anglo imperialists used to cow and attack the identities and contributions of other peoples who were fundamental in founding this country. They try to pretend that the Anglo contribution is alone and predominant, when in fact it's anything but.

In fact through legal precedent, Spanish in particular has a special protected and official status for public use in voting booths, government, schools, hospitals, libraries, tax agencies and offices, since Spanish was a founder language, already well-established, in territory that became a major part of the USA. Native American languages have similar protections per a long-used and fundamental precedent in common law, court decisions and legislative laws-- foundational languages are equal to English in all areas of public commerce.

Thus in Southwestern states like California and Arizona, and in Florida, English-only laws are null and void. The fundamental laws and treaties, and customs of the land dating to the Mexican War, give special recognition to Spanish, and that's basic to the very cultural and government fabric of these regions.

I posted on this over at Manny's blog:

Benito said...

Y tambien, un mensaje especial para ti, Anglo Orgulloso, en espanol-- ah, que divertido que no entiende nuestra idioma, porque puedo decir aqui casi cualquier cosa insultando sobre ti y to no puedes comprender ni responder!

Cosas como-- tu eres un perdedor impotente desesperado que no podria distinguir tu boca de sus nalgas, y es "Tu" que esta extendido su hedor a todas partes. Y sabemos que tienes tanto miedo del futura aqui en California, Arizona y otras estados en el Suroeste, tu sabes que estamos apoderandonos de esta region otra vez, la misma de que tu y tus Anglos tentaban de expulsarnos antes-- la tierra de nuestra gente. No nos hemos olvidado, amigo!

Gail Davis said...

" ... but you do provide us with comedy & ammunition."

Ammunition, yes. But comedy? That's one sick puppy, not a funny one.

" ... porque puedo decir aqui casi cualquier cosa insultando sobre ti y to[?] no puedes comprender ni responder."

You know, I think this is actually a real fear for some people and one that should probably be addressed directly. You might make fun of it but, perhaps, it would reduce some of the stress of changing demographics, if it could be defused. (And no, I'm not talking about English classes. More along the lines of encouraging Spanish as a second language for those with English as their first language.)

brownfemipower said...

proud anglo has been making his rounds evidently! He left the exact same response over at nezua's place...

Benito said...

"if it could be defused. (And no, I'm not talking about English classes. More along the lines of encouraging Spanish as a second language for those with English as their first language.)"

Es una muy buena idea. At a community meeting a few months back in the midst of the English-only stupidity, we were talking about this-- basically, in the media, schools and general culture, thoroughly encouraging that sort of bilingualism, helping to build confidence in the non-Latino population so that Spanish seems less "foreign" to them.

A friend of mine used to work in India and said people there routinely spoke 3, 4 languages, similar in Europe-- the key was just that they started young, when kids automatically soak up languages quickly and practically for free.

If we encourage Spanish immersion basically as a routine aspect of primary education and encourage its continuation-- and then encourage students to take a third language at the middle school/high school level, the way they do in Europe-- then Spanish just becomes a normal part of the communications landscape for the population as a whole. It becomes normal.

In fact, a friend of mine stated this cleverly-- instead of Latinos being "assimilated" (aka "suppressed") into the imperializing "Anglo-Protestant" culture, Spanish was assimilated into the US cultural fabric following the Florida Wars, Mexican War and Spanish-American War. This is particularly in the SW and Florida, Spanish has been accorded full public protected status for well over a century-- something most Americans don't realize.

So the easiest way to solve the problem is, as you say, to encourage Spanish mastery for the Anglophones, and to encourage it at a young age when we can learn virtually for free. The dual-way immersion schools with Spanish and English as dual media, are fabulous for this *and* give kids a superior education. It's great to have these opportunities in the universities as well.

Also, providing economic opportunities and advantages to Spanish-fluent people (of any background) can also be helpful. The best way to do this is to encourage further growth of Spanish-language media in general-- not just TV and magazines but also "higher registers" of news, entertainment and intellectual publications, films, newspapers for example. The more normal a part of US culture and the more fundamental a medium of communication Spanish becomes, the more relaxed the country in general will be with regard to it.

Elisia said...

$ 98,000?? if you say it fast it is not much money :)

angry america said...

Being against ilegal immigration is racist? I do not think so. It is American! Regardless of whether the "aliens" are from mexico, guatemala , zimbabwe, cambodia or floated on a door from haiti, they are still taking the oppurtunities of the children of America. No other country in the world is experiencing the kind of influx of illegal trash America is facing! To let invaders from every country of the world set up shop here , we are forfeiting our sovreignty. Where does our border end? Are we to just give up everything we as Americans have fought so hard to gain, just because some third-world invaders cry racism? Yes ,it is true that Mexico and latin america are our "neighbors" to the south. Do we as Americans owe them anything?NO! If they want to borrow a cup of sucre, tell them to pay us back for the thousands of cups we have already lent. At what point does borrowing become stealing? Our cupboards are almost bare, and yet bleeding-heart America is not done giving away our birthright.When will it end? when we can no longer feed ourselves? When we rely on the rest of the world we have supported to pay us back? The only thing the rest of the world wants to give America is death and disease, and what better way than to walk it right across our border!

Anonymous said...

Um Angry American, Morales isn´t an illegal immigrant...he is a US citizen and is a Department of Defense employee...why is it that you see a name like Morales and automatically assume he is illegal or even an immigrant? He detained US CITIZENS that were hunting on state property...last I checked it is legal for a person to hunt on state property and since it does not belong to him they weren´t trespassing.