Latino Journal: Political mailer by police union stirs hate against Latinos

Latino Journal

Political mailer by police union stirs hate against Latinos

Richmond police union mailer draws fire
By Karl Fischer West County Times 10/02/2008

Richmond’s police union considered carefully before weighing in on the city’s controversial program of driver’s license traffic checkpoints, which detractors claim unfairly targets Latino motorists.

That effort showed in a four-page political flier that appeared in mailboxes across Richmond this week, stuffed with arguments supporting a pair of City Council candidates who support checkpoints and excoriating two who do not.

The mailer, which loosely connects local efforts to curb unlicensed drivers with the violence of Latin American drug cartels, now earns strong condemnation from both supporters and opponents of the checkpoints for what many consider a racist attack.

For example: “A pile of 11 headless bodies was recently discovered in the on-going (sic) orgies of violence!”

Officer Kevin Martin, president of the Richmond Police Officers Association, says he’s no racist. Rather, he said, the mailer seeks to expose Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and two council candidates she supports, Jovanka Beckles and Jeff Ritterman, for wanting “to identify a special class of people who are exempt from the rule of law.”

“And that is wrong,” Martin said. “I want to stress that the POA does not target or identify Latinos in any way, shape or form, and the checkpoints are not race-specific. But it is interesting that the only time they gain any notoriety is when we hold them on the west side of town,” heavily populated by Latinos and blacks

The mailer includes:

# The statement that “Most of the drugs sold in Richmond come across the Mexican border and are driven into Richmond by Latino drug dealers,” according to a testimonial from Martin. Police Chief Chris Magnus said that statement lacks empirical support.

# An arrow pointing at Richmond on a map, with the phrases, “Mexican drug dealers,” “Honduras (sic) drug dealers” and “El Salvadorian (sic) drug dealers.” A handgun, cash and a pile of drugs sit beside the dot on the map.

# Statements describing Mexican drug cartel slayings, attacks on police and government bribes. “The ‘Rule of Law’ is at risk in Mexico!”

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