Sunday, May 20, 2007

Racial discrimination vs illegal immigrants

It is frustrating to see how some, if not many, of the immigration rallyists were subjected to harsh treatment by the members of the Los Angeles Police Department. The United States is a country that strictly subscribes to the tenets of international human rights. But last Tuesday's event, wherein thousands of people marched through the downtown L.A. to showcase their grievances over the snailpaced process by which the comprehensive immigration bill is being tackled, appeared to have gone out of control.

As a result, LAPD chief William Bratton has ordered investigation as to how the situation got out of hand. For him, the TV footages that showed how his officers dispersed the immigration rallyists by using batons and some 240 less-than-lethal rounds to the demonstrators and mediamen. He called these tactics "inappropriate."

What happened during that day was no different from any Third World country's demonstrations where the police oftentimes overreacted to uncalled circumstances that resulted to serious injuries and deaths. It is hard to understand why the police could not subscribe to the accepted norms of human rights which they are supposed to uphold as law-abiding law enforcement officers, and not as human rights violators.

Before the eyes of the world, these abuses can be misconstrued as a show of force, not because police officers do feel indifferent to other races, especially the millions of illegal immigrants whom they believed are putting heavy strains on the country's basic services like health and education services. Whatever the agenda of the rallyists are, the police have no right to use excessive force at the unarmed rallyists, whose only motives were to gain the right to live legally in America as a fulfillment of their long-time dreams.

From the way it looked, it seemed hatred for illegal immigrants have become a common barometer, which when scrutinized closer could tantamount to racial discrimination. As if this country is not a land of immigrants.

What Bratton should do perhaps is to put those officers involved under retraining on maximum tolerance and re-orientation on the proper aspects of international human rights.

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