Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Arizona: state government brings back ‘flashbang’ of teargas – and racial oppression | Ayesha Siddiqui

Protests flared up across Arizona on Wednesday, but police arrested more than 120 people protesting. The bulk of those arrested belonged to civil rights groups aiming to bring attention to police brutality and stop the theft of Black and brown bodies. But it was the humiliation of this group that captured the attention of the most social media users: when “Flashbang” police Tasered 16-year-old Erica Blake, a Black

girl with special needs, without warning. #stopthesteal rally in Albuquerque prompts arrest of wheelchair-bound girl Read more It was a practice more typically associated with the state of Texas, where the flashbang is used to disorient and block residents at rallies against police abuse. In Arizona, the flashbang was used by border patrol agents to clear protesters who were peacefully disrupting a photo shoot of a

television show. Authorities did not warn protesters of the raid because, according to the Valley News, “the department is prohibited from announcing such operations until they occur”. The future looks bleak for those who are left standing. Since his election in November, President Trump has made clear his intention to enact policies aimed at “extreme vetting”. In April, he signed executive orders aimed at

reorienting US immigration policy to exclude people from Mexico and South and Central America. He announced on Sunday that he intended to ban entry of all refugees to the US for at least 120 days and bar citizens of six Muslim countries from entering the US indefinitely. “Any nation that refuses to submit to our immigration laws is not remotely secure,” he said. Police during a protest outside the Arizona Arizona

Capitol building in Arizona. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Meanwhile, the US is less than halfway through Trump’s draconian deportation agenda. Between 17 January and 25 June, federal immigration and customs enforcement (ICE) agents have arrested 44,651 people. The upcoming midterm elections will be a critical test of voters’ ability to respond to Donald Trump’s authoritarianism and disregard for

democratic principles. Arizonans have got a test for democracy when police strip-search women’s private parts | Jayne Hurley Read more Arizona is not a shining example of how to run a state. Gadsden Flag that now flutters over the state capitol building was made famous by Trump’s nativist fearmongering; both termites and common sense have put a nail in the coffin of the governor’s chamber in May; and Arizona’s

physical infrastructure continues to crumble at a record rate. At the same time, no amount of harm can mollify Donald Trump’s continued attacks on Black and brown communities. When President Trump referred to “very fine people” attending the neo-Nazi and white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in July, he echoed sentiments we have come to hear countless times: “Are there good people on both sides? I’ll tell you

this: there were many fine people on both sides.” That sentiment appears to be how local police agencies feel about communities of color. A few weeks ago, Phoenix police officers arrested a 16-year-old boy with special needs and a different disability who was filming an officer executing her. The girl was taken into custody “without warnings, or probable cause”, according to the ACLU, the National Center for Victims

of Crime, and in violation of her legal right to keep her cell phone and tablet. “I was never in a position where I could press charges against the [police],” she said at the rally that day. In other words, she was carrying the contents of her electronic device at the exact moment a police officer surrounded her. The kicker: while she was in custody, they wore her wrist cuffs, which tied the cuffs tighter than with

normal irons. These “flashbang” incidents are just another chapter in the history of state-sanctioned police brutality in Arizona and racism across the nation. Tuesday afternoon should have been a celebration for many in the #stopthesteal movement. Instead, there were arrests in state capital Arizona and a police breach of personal rights. The upcoming November midterm elections will be a critical test of voters’

ability to respond to Donald Trump’s authoritarianism and disregard for democratic principles.

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