Precinct 333

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Citizen’s Arrest Brings Lawsuit

Illegal immigration advocates have sued an Arizona rancher for apprehending border-jumpers on his property, and the county sheriff for failing to stop his actions in support of US law.

Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever is being sued for a share of a $32 million lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court.

The suit alleges the sheriff has done nothing to stop a Cochise County rancher from apprehending illegal entrants on his own property east of Douglas.

Filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the suit alleges rancher Roger Barnett held a group of illegal entrants at gunpoint on his property one year ago , shouted obscenities at the group, kicked one of the women twice and threatened to shoot anybody who tried to leave. It also lists 10 un-named co-conspirators who have known of Barnett's actions in the past and did nothing to prevent them.

Calling the group "racist liars," Barnett says he doesn't recall the incident ever taking place and said he hasn't been served with a lawsuit.

Dever has not been served with a lawsuit and therefore had no response, said Cochise County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Carol Capas.

The suit alleges that on March 7, 2004, 19 illegal entrants were resting in a wash near Douglas when Barnett pulled up on an all-terrain vehicle with a large, barking dog. It claims that Barnett waved his cocked gun at the group, and yelled obscenities at them.

Barnett then walked up to one of the women and kicked her in the leg, then tried to kick her again, the suit alleges. He then called his wife, who arrived with a truck and summoned the U.S. Border Patrol.

The entrants allegedly tried to tell the Border Patrol agents what had happened but were menaced by Barnett.

Even if we assume the incident happened as described, what we see here is a citizen’s arrest of a group of people who were manifestly breaking state (trespassing) and federal (immigration) law. That mkes the arrest, and any associated coercion, legitimate in my book.

And by the way, don’t call Barnett a vigilante – the new conservatively correct term (as pointed out by Michelle Malkin) is “undocumented Border Patrol Agent.”


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