February 4, 1983
National City Police Claim "Instinct" In Finding Illegal Aliens!
National City, Ca. Feb. 4, 1983...National City Police Chief Terry Hart and his top aides confirmed to the press that the members of the National City Police Department have the "ability" to detect and determine that persons of Mexican ancestry are legal or illegal! Using this so-called "instinct," Chief Hart attempted to justify the illegal actions of his police department in stopping two Mexican ancestry persons, handcuffing them, transporting them to the police station, then calling the INS and turning them over to the police station, then calling the INS and turning them over to the INS. There was no small problem with this scenario which probably would have gone unreported except that there was a witness to the whole affair...Herman Baca, Chairman of the Committee on Chicano Rights.
"I am flabbergasted that 5 years after the U.S. Attorney General ruled that, the responsibility for enforcement of the immigration laws rests with the Immigration laws rests with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and not with state and local police, that the National City Police Department feels that it is beyond the authority of the U.S. Attorney General and the Department of Justice. That they (the National City Police Department) think that they can run around like a bunch of vigilante Klan members picking up Mexican ancestry persons without reasonable or probable cause that they have committed a crime demonstrates a flagrant disregard for the laws of the land, a lack of leadership and administration by Police Chief Hart, and a total failure of the Mayor and City Council to adequately control the police of this city," Baca told La Presna San Diego.
Baca and the Committee on Chicano Rights asked for and received permission to bring before Mayor Kyle Morgan and the City Council and demand that they take action to immediately order the Chief of Police to cease and desist from assuming the duties and responsibility of the Immigration and Naturalization Service of face civil lawsuits for violations of a persons civil and constitutional rights. "If we have to, we will bankrupt the city in order to stop them from making false arrest, and illegally kidnapping Mexican ancestry persons from the streets on enforcement of immigration statures," said Baca. "Ten years ago we stopped Sheriff Duffy and the San Diego Police Department from carrying out exactly the same kind of racist attacks against our people. If the National City Police Department thinks they have a higher mandate or authority than we shall be happy to so inform the Department of Justice and the U.s. Attorney General."
National City Police Chief Hart in later comments told reporters that "It is the policy and practice of the Department to only detain aliens, and people we suspect of being aliens, and people we suspect of being aliens, if we discover or have reason to believe they are alien, following detention or arrest or other charges."
Later Police Chief Hart confirmed that the incident Mr. Baca witnessed in fact took place as he described. "We have informed BACA that we are aware of the Federal ruling in this matter."
Baca pointed out that the U.S. Attorney Generals ruling is very clear and states "do not stop and question, detain, arrest, or place and immigration hold on any person not suspected of a crime solely on the ground that they may be deportable aliens." "Now if the Chief of Police can't understand that simple language than I suggest that there is something seriously wrong with the administration of the National City Police Department. Our organization investigated the facts behind the Jan. 10, incident involving two Mexican ancestry persons and Motorcycle Officer Delucia. At no time, were these two individuals charged with a crime. At no time were they booked, at no time were they even logged in the station as suspects in a crime. They were there only because Officer Delucia had an instinct that they were illegal! Well may we recommend that Officer Delucia immediately hire himself to the Border Patrol, they are famous for hiring officers with "sixth senses and instincts" as to whom is illegal and who is legal. The fact remains these gentlemen were denied every single protection afforded by the law of this country because Delucia decided to take the law into his own hands...and how the police chief admits that it is the policy and practice of his department to do just that," said Baca.
The City Council meeting, which at times was emotional, did not resolve the issue but merely ended with the Mayor requesting the city manager to submit a report on the matter to the council.