Marty Atencio was 44 when he died.
A third-generation veteran, he paid the ultimate price — but not on the battlefield in some faraway land…
No, Marty paid the ultimate price, right here in the United States, for simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
It all went down on December 15, 2011.
Marty, who was diagnosed with a serious mental illness after returning to civilian life, was acting abnormally in front of a convenience store in Phoenix, Arizona. As a result, he was taken into custody by law enforcement.
Cooperating peacefully, Marty soon found himself in an isolation cell after telling officers he was having suicidal thoughts.
However, while being fingerprinted, officers claimed he became combative — despite the fact that surveillance video shows no indication of any such behavior.
In any event, Marty was quickly surrounded by about eight police officers before being jumped, beaten, and tasered with 50,000 volts, followed by 100 micropulses of 1,200 volts.
When the officers grew tired of brutalizing this U.S. veteran, he was stripped down and left naked on a cell floor.
Heart stopped, he laid motionless for nearly ten minutes before someone tried to restart his heart. Four days later, Marty was taken off life support.
What a way to say “thank you” for honorably serving your country.
A Tough Guy Patriot
The terror attack against Marty happened in a place where police brutality is quite common.
As are unconstitutional searches and seizures.
But in Maricopa County, that seems to be OK. In fact, many actually support the man who regularly violates Constitutional and civil rights in an attempt to combat illegal immigration, while bragging to the world that he’s some kind of tough guy patriot.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The fact is Sheriff Joe Arpaio is little more than a treasonous bully who hides behind the guise of border security while trampling the rights of citizens.
Known for “getting tough” on illegals, Sheriff Joe has become quite a rock star to those who believe it’s perfectly acceptable to ignore the Bill of Rights if you’re trying to secure the borders. And he has quite a following.
I must admit, as a conservative, it pains me to see others who call themselves conservatives parading around in Gadsden Flag t-shirts supporting Arpaio’s illegal and unconstitutional law enforcement style.
Don’t get me wrong; this nation is badly in need of real immigration reform. But like any kind of law enforcement, illegal immigration control and border security must not be done at the expense of our most basic rights. Otherwise, we’re no better than the henchmen of Stalin and Mao who regularly demanded “papers” from citizens and often tortured and killed their own countrymen in an attempt to wave their iron fists.
So it is with great enthusiasm that I get to write this piece today.
Unconstitutional and Un-American
It has long been known that Sheriff Joe relied on racial profiling and illegal detentions to target Latinos. And in Phoenix, Latinos make up about 25% of the population.
I’m not talking illegals, ether. These are legal, U.S. citizens that are deserving of the same rights afforded to the rest of us under the U.S. Constitution.
But for Joe, that didn’t matter. And his complete arrogance and disregard for liberty earned him a smackdown from a federal district court last week.
You see, last year a federal appeals court confirmed Arpaio could not detain people solely on the suspicion that they are illegals by disallowing the reversal of a lower court’s ruling.
Then last week, U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow issued a decision that found the polices and practices of the Sheriff and his office are discriminatory and violate the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Attorney Cecillia Wang commented on the decision saying:
This is a victory for everyone. Singling people out for traffic stops and detentions because they are Latino is unconstitutional and just plain un-American. Let this be a warning to any agency trying to enforce the ‘show me your papers’ provision of SB 1070 and similar laws — there is no exception in the Constitution for immigration enforcement.
I realize there are plenty of folks out there who think Joe Arpaio is some kind of American hero with a John Wayne swagger and golden moral compass. But there is nothing moral about violating the rights of citizens.
Want to strengthen our borders? Fine. I’m with you. Border leaks certainly provide easy access for those wishing to wage war against the interests of our citizens.
But remember, U.S. interests are rooted in freedom and liberty.
Canceling out those interests in an effort to combat illegal immigration is counterproductive and completely destructive to the foundation of our democracy.
Live honorably, live free…
Jeff Siegel for Freedom Watch