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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Steven Segal, Incredible Hulk, Playgirl Model Side With Arpaio

Article first published as Steven Segal, Incredible Hulk & Playgirl Model Turn Against Latinos on Technorati, author Tim Paynter.

Actor Steven Segal, a favorite of Latinos who like his macho fight scenes, turned against mostly Latino undocumented immigrants in Arizona today as he allied himself with Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Sheriff Arpaio, head of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office which patrols Phoenix, AZ, shifted gears after his election. Rather than continuing his efforts against drug dealers, a job he had done well as the head of the DEA in Arizona, he focused on arresting undocumented workers. The major difference between drug dealers and Latino immigrants is, the drug dealers are armed with dangerous weapons but return to their native Mexico after delivery of their loads. Undocumented workers are harmless, and remain in the U.S. so they can earn money to send home to their mothers and wives.

On November 17th, Arpaio held a swearing-in ceremony for 56 new un-paid citizen deputies. Segal, along with actors Lou Ferrigno who played the Incredible Hulk, and Peter Lupus, who is best known as being one of the first Hollywood actors to pose nude for Playgirl magazine, served as major attractions for the ceremony.

Sheriff Arpaio is no stranger to fame, himself. His aggressive enforcement against undocumented workers made him a celebrity with conservative candidates during the 2010 election. For example, Arpaio and Dawg the Bounty Hunter, were the main attraction for anti-immigrant candidate Tom Tancredo who ran for the Colorado governor’s office.  Tancredo was soundly defeated by conservative voters who jumped parties and voted for Democratic Mayor John Hickenlooper because they felt Tancredo's views were extreme.

The swearing-in of volunteers Wednesday at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Training Academy came roughly five months after hundreds demonstrated in front of the Maricopa County Fourth Street Jail, which Arpaio boasts as being “the toughest jail in the country”. The protesters were demonstrating against Arizona SB 1070, a racial profiling law requiring law enforcement to detain all persons suspected of being undocumented. Since the law was unable to define what an “illegal alien” looked like, the burden fell on Latino citizens which police could claim to confuse for undocumented workers. 

A good example of racial profiling happened in Nebraska when ICE arrested an entire bus of Spanish speakers.  The undercover agent who encountered the bus at a McDonalds said she was suspicious it was a “smuggling load” because the people spoke Spanish and because of the “manner of their dress”.  It turned out, the bus was full of US citizens who had chartered it to go to an Amway convention.  They were dressed for the Hitlton Hotel, the final stop for the bus.

While the Fourth Street Jail protest was peaceful, Arpaio was angered when his planned raid of Latino barrios under the new law was interrupted.  The Phoenix Police Department needed back-up. In the future, Arpaio said he would specifically use the posse for crowd control during demonstrations and to transport prisoners.

Others believe the mass deputization was Arpaio's answer to the U.S. Justice Department investigation into his alleged human right's violations against Latinos.  Arpaio has refused to cooperate with the Justice Department investigation.  They sued.

Segal, Ferrigno and Lupus were sworn in as deputies along with 53 other Arizona citizens. Civil rights groups voiced concern over a “private posse” carrying fire arms and using arrest techniques. Arpaio scoffed at the criticism stating the volunteers had been through some training at the Academy. While Hispanic groups have called for a national boycott against the state of Arizona, no mention has been made of boycotting specific products or refusing to tune in to programs made by Hollywood stars who stand against them.

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1 comment:

  1. Segal, Ferrigno, Arpaio, & Mucus deserve each other.