Sheriff’s Dogs II-Lou Dobbs, Piolin Por La Manana
I have recently received news that causes me great concern. Apparently my name is on a persona non grata list in Otero County in New Mexico. I wrote an article criticizing the county Mounties when they allegedly violated the very heart of our constitution regarding unreasonable search and seizure. I hear some people consider me ’un-American’.
https://lavidanueva.wordpress.com/2007/10/25/sheriffs-dogs-ice-raids-piolin-por-la-manana-lou-dobbs-illegal-immigrants/Sheriff’s Dogs II Adventures in Otero County
According to a newspaper article, the Otero County Sheriff’s Department allegedly ransacked a private residence without probable cause or a search warrant. A free society does not allow the police to barge into private homes unless they are pursuing a crime in process, say a bank robber who runs into your house, or a fleeing felon. In the alternative, law enforcement has been required to get approval for an uninvited entry into your home, a search warrant, after demonstrating to a judge they have reason to enter, say the reasonable belief a drug lab is there or some other criminal enterprise.
The article I based my piece on alleges the deputies gained access to a private home in Cimarron, New Mexico, by first pretending to be pizza delivery boys. They did not have a search warrant and all of the money in the local bank was accounted for so they were not a fleeing felon. When the residents would not open the door the deputies returned claiming to be the dog pound, according to the article. That is where I got the Sheriff’s Dog’s title. Finally, after their undercover efforts failed they finally told the truth and announced they were the sheriff’s department. They allegedly ordered an entire family, children included, out into the cold air at 4:00 a.m.
When asked if the deputies had a warrant to ransack the house the alleged response was, the deputies did not need one because there was a noisy refrigerator on the front porch. The real purpose of the search was to look for undocumented workers, maybe hiding behind refrigerators. Unfortunately, there was no evidence the refrigerator had robbed a bank so it did not qualify as a fleeing felon. Even if the refrigerator had robbed a bank, it was groaning peacefully on the front porch and had not fled into the house. Allegedly, no warrant was obtained. Most judges don’t think refrigerators are guilty of anything.
Our founding fathers were terrified of the federal police mettling in state affairs. That is why we have federal law enforcement, including Homeland security. Their job is to chase Mexicans through meat packing plants and send them back to Mexico. Each state has its own police force on the state and local level. Their job, in part, is to chase speeding motorists and fill the coffers of hungry municipalities. In theory, the responsibilities were never to mix. The federal police were supposed to protect us against national threats, like spies and immigrant laborers who risked their lives crossing the border to feed their wives and children. The state and local police were to protect us from the bad guys, including crooks that forced their way into our homes and ransacked them.
President Bush, likely the single worst president in history, and the Republican Party, gave in to the ultra conservative minority. These nut cases were not satisfied with the efforts of Homeland Security. After they grew bored burning crosses on the hillside, they began to insist the state governments take on the role of chasing Mexicans. Captain Chertoff responded and a loophole in the law was implemented. That is when the Otero Sheriff’s deputies allegedly went under cover, local police allegedly abusing the authority of the federal government, and disguised as Pizza delivery boys and dog catchers. All of this is allegedly. I was not there.
The most lethal threat to a free society is lack of knowledge. An educated society can make rational decisions, elect politicians who wage war wisely, and put pressure on federal and state authorities to control rogue law enforcement tactics. Educated politicians choose rational judges who also control rogue tactics on the part of the guys in blue, or in red table clothes when they go undercover as pizza delivery boys.
Civil immunity statutes prevent you and me from suing an officer of the law who stepped beyond the pale. Who is going to impose penalties on these guys for breaking the law? The Law? Judges are one of the two last lines of defenses for free people. It is the judges job to take the action most loathed by law enforcement…dismiss the case. The officer does not suffer, but when enough cases get dismissed the department finally gets the message. These tactics become unproductive, costly and unprofitable for the jurisdiction.
What is the second and final line of defense? Free press. Because I advocate equal and fair treatment for all who live in America, including undocumented workers, and because I criticize alleged Rambo police tactics, does that make me un-American?
My source tells me I would be wise to “make a wide berth around Otero county”. Further, he says, law enforcement in the Mile High City “knows who I am”. That is a lot of attention for a guy who speaks out against alleged police abuse and advocates only peaceful, legal tactics to fight unfairness in America.
If we allow the police to intimidate those who freely speak, then who is being “un-American’?
I can tell you one thing, when I head south in my ford truck with a camper on the back in two days, I will make a wide berth around Otero County.
Note: I have not heard anything about resentments or wide berths directly from any person from Otero County and cannot say that this is a valid sentiment within the Sheriff’s Department. I believe my source but I have no way to verify the information.
Tim Paynter is an attorney and a peaceful activist for human rights and civil rights.
An update on Piolin por la manana, Eduardo “Eddie” Sotelo. Their security guard, Rafa, is the guy who left me at a rest stop in Amarillo, Texas. The Piolin team then roasted me on their radio show the next day because I did not have my attorney business card. They were sure a white guy fighting for the rights of undocumented workers had to be a minuteman.
I was especially sorry because the driver I was with in the Piolinmobile, Juan Carlos, did not stand up for me. In the little time we had tried to explain to him the tremendous pain in my heart at seeing people treated unjustly, at seeing families broken apart, at seeing U.S. citizen children being denied a chance at higher education. I also tried to convey my sense of spirituality and good will towards all. That made me a religious zealot. No matter, my driver has a good heart and I wish him well.
The Piolin people have never issued a retraction for the bashing they gave this peaceful activist as far as I know. For my part, I did not fall prey to those who encouraged me to bash Eduardo in the press. I even sent Eduardo good tidings by email a few times. I love his radio philosophy and sense of humanity. The casualty of an unjust immigration policy is the separation of people who should consider themselves brothers.in this great land.