Sunday, May 4, 2008

Are the Dayton Police Profiling Inner City Latinos?

Seems so, based on todays Dayton Daily News articles.

You wouldn't know it just reading the healines, which sounds like a nice multi-culti article set for Cinco De Mayo..."Mexicans and their Markets". But check out the article entitled Hispanic Community, Stores, Support One Another.

From the article:

Sotelo said local police for the last six months to a year have been finding reasons to stop Hispanics on the street and in cars, and many of those who have been stopped have not had legal status. As people are arrested and deported, others without legal status have fled the area, he said.

"People I know who have been here eight or nine years, they're stable, but they're not legal," Sotelo said. "At first the police would stop people in their cars, so a lot stopped driving. Now they stop people for just walking.

The article also quotes the manager of the a Latino store in Old North Dayton who has observed similar things:

"If you've got black hair and dark skin, you expect to get stopped," Ruiz said.

Ok, two store owners. But apparently the director of the East End Community Services has noted the same thing:

"This is a major issue for the Latino population right now, and it's an issue for other immigrant communities, too," Lepore-Jentleson said.

So does Dayton "get" diversity? Doesn't seem so, as police action here is reportedly driving away Mexicans and others who may be undocumented, or even here legally (though I suspect the poor local economy has a lot to do with slowing of immigration, t0o).

But, we've already seen the hostility to the Islamic community demonstrated by the controversy over that mosque in Sugarcreek, and then the city commission barely supported a gay rights law (and one could see the hostility to that via some of the comments at Esratis' blog). Now some anecdotal evidence of selective enforcement against latinos.

No, the Dayton region has a long way to go when it comes to tolerance, unless tolerance means polite silence while intolreance works its ways under a placid surface.