Wednesday, November 28, 2007

3-Year Immigration Backlash Sampling Includes 3 Tennessee Communities

The Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center lists a number of the "more egregious examples of physical and psychological violence" against Latinos in various communities around the United States.

Tennessee has the dubious distinction of having 3 listed:
MAY 7, 2005
Maryville, Tenn.
A Mexican grocery store is vandalized by five white men who shatter windows, damage a refrigerator and spray-paint neo-Nazi symbols, causing over $17,000 in damage. Two men — Thomas Lovett and Jacob Reynolds — eventually plead guilty and are each sentenced to six months in prison.
JULY 20, 2006
Dayton, Tenn.
Gilberto Mejía, owner of the Mexican grocery store Carnicería Los Primos, is verbally assaulted by anti-immigration activist June Griffin, who barges into the store and tears down a Mexican flag. Griffin then allegedly harasses Mejía and leaves threatening phone messages, which Mejia saves for police.

"It was an act of war," says Griffin, who has unsuccessfully run for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican. Charged with civil rights intimidation, phone harassment, theft and vandalism, Griffin is released after witnesses fail to turn up at a court hearing.

"I'm not ashamed of anything I did," Griffin tells The Herald-News.
MAY 10, 2007
Dunlap, Tenn.
Frankie Bowman, who in 2005 launched an unsuccessful petition drive to prevent a Mexican nightclub from moving into his neighborhood, is arrested for offering an undercover Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent $2,500 to burn down Mexico de Noche. Bowan, 52, allegedly told the agent he didn't care whether the building was empty or occupied when the fire was set. He faces trial on charges of solicitation to commit aggravated arson.

Mountain Minuteman founder Robert Crooks E-mails a video to several prominent anti-immigration activists that appears to shows a Minuteman tracking a group of Mexicans through a gun's night vision scope. In the video, an unidentified man can be heard calling the Mexicans "cockroaches" and then firing off a shotgun. "This video shows how to keep a Home Depot parking lot empty," Crooks writes in his cover E-mail, snidely suggesting that recipients know how to "Talk the Talk" but not "Walk the Walk" of effectively fighting illegal immigration. A few days later, a very similar night-vision video surfaces, this one purporting to show a Minuteman hitting a lone Mexican with a sniper shot. Crooks, who initially denies making the videos but then admits it, later says the second video was faked. Although state and federal law enforcement officials look into the incident, no victims are found.

1 comment: