Friday, September 17, 2010

Sheriff Joe Arpaio protest ends in arrest for man, officer pushing woman

A Phoenix neighborhood protest against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday resulted in one person being arrested and another claiming Phoenix police roughed her up.

Abraham Hernandez, 21, was booked on disorderly conduct charges, said Sgt. Steve Martos, a Phoenix police spokesman.

Another woman, who refused to give her name, said a Phoenix police officer pushed her once into a squad car and another time to the floor. A woman who was with her gave the same account to The Republic.

Martos confirmed that an officer pushed an individual, who fell to the floor, after a group of people rushed the officers.

Arpaio was at Manzanita Elementary School, 8430 N. 39th Ave., to speak at a neighborhood group meeting, Martos said.

"Phoenix police officers were at Manzanita to ensure it was peaceful," Martos said. "(Hernandez) kept pushing the envelope, telling people to ignore commands."

After Arpaio had left, the Phoenix officers arrested Hernandez, who was told not to return to the property.

"(Hernandez) was not allowed in the meeting or on the property," Martos said. "He came back at the end where he was throwing something in the garbage."

That's when officers circled him and arrested him, Martos said.

A number of individuals ran back toward the officers as they were trying to get Hernandez into the police car, Martos said.

"They vast majority of the community understands that when an officer is taking law enforcement action, you can't rush or run toward him, or try to stop him from making an arrest," Martos said.

Opal Tometi, who was at the protest, said another woman started questioning the officers.

"Why are you taking him? On what grounds?" Tometi said. The woman leaned in when Hernandez was being placed in the car and that's when an officer pushed the woman into a squad car.

"She wasn't getting physical with the officer," Tometi said. A few moments later the same woman was pushed to the ground.

Martos defends the officers' right to keep the peace.

"You rush at officers, you may get pushed back or get pushed to the ground. Our hope is be able to protect everyone's right to voice their opinion."\

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