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Update on Archer Avenue Attack: Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (MIRA) action pays off!

25 February 2014 No Comment

February 25, 2014

English version from La Noticia de Misisipi 2-19-14

Haz un clic aquí para leer el articulo en español, ubicada en pagina 2A 

After purchasing a home in south Jackson, the Lopez Rodriguez family began remodeling their new home.  It needed a lot of repairs.  Relatives of the family joined together to install a new tile floor, re-wire the entire house and fix the plumbing.  New drywall was fitted and nailed up.  A cousin, Arturo Fomperosa Rodriguez obtained a tourist visa to come from Mexico to Jackson to help out. They planned to have the home ready by Christmas.

But just after 6:00 am on the morning of December 3, 2013, as Rosi Lopez was getting her children ready for school, the United States Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force went to the Lopez Rodriguez home on Archer Avenue in Jackson to arrest one Lucious Perkins on a murder warrant.  That event became a raid that resulted in racial epithets, beatings, arrests, and an officer wounded by “friendly fire” as officers fired their guns into a bedroom. But the officers were mistaken.  Perkins had no connection with the family and was not Latino.

Family members were arrested that morning, and all except Rosi Lopez, a U.S. citizen born in Mississippi, and the only English speaker, were denied bail because they were from Mexico.  Mr. Fomperosa was seriously beaten by officers and was sent to a hospital and then to jail. According to various family members, someone related to the task force later tore out the drywall where the bullet holes had been.

Mr. Fomperosa was charged by the federal government with illegal possession of a weapon.  Attorney Patricia Ice, director of the Mira Legal Project, and Attorney Lisa Ross represented Mr. Fomperosa in his court case.

On February 12, 2014, following a two day hearing, the U. S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi who was the prosecuting attorney, made a motion to dismiss the charges against  Mr. Fomperosa.  The U.S. District Judge who heard the testimonies of witnesses, Daniel P. Jordan signed the order of dismissal. Late that night Mr. Fomperosa was released from the Madison County jail where he was languished for more than two months. Charges are still pending against other occupants of the home.

MIRA believes this incident is another example of racial profiling and abuse against people of color in Mississippi and elsewhere.  The U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force was made up of officers from various law enforcement agencies including the Jackson Police Department. Measures have been taken to begin to address these issues in Latino communities by the Hinds County Sheriffs office, however at least one of their deputies participated in the attack on the family.

Despite that, the family was happy to be reunited in time for Valentines Day.

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