Infringed Rights: Anywhere, Anytime

The daughter of a 55-year old Latina arrested for petty theft asks: "Is it because of the color of our skin?"

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: January 24, 2012

Infringed Rights: Anywhere, Anytime

This past weekend was great, I went down to San Diego to visit friends and hitched a ride back to LA with my parents Sunday morning, January 22nd, 2012.

Once we returned to LA, my parents decided to go grocery shopping at a very popular Hispanic grocery store that ultimately ended in my mom's arrest for petty theft - I can't believe it.

I'm utterly befuddled.

Why, at the age of 55, would she start now?

After being at the station for most of the day she gets released and I, and the rest of my family, hear her side of the story.

One of the items she's accused of stealing is a TV y Notas magazine, which I know for a fact my father purchased for her while in Tijuana Sunday Morning. Another item she was accused of stealing was cheese - also strange. She was doing a purchase of grapes, pudding, strawberries, avocados, tortillas, escamochas, onions, jicama - you know, groceries, why would she steal cheese?

I also hear two other women of hispanic descent, who were shopping in the store alone, were arrested within similar time frames, with similar charges. To clarify, my father was waiting in the car while my mom did the grocery shopping.

Even stranger is how my mom remarks on what a female police officer said during her booking, "If you're lucky, you'll get released. If not, you'll get sent back." Why would she say that? Why assume every Hispanic person is an illegal?

All of these comments trigger an underlying motive from the undercover officer making the arrests at the grocery store.

Furthermore, on my mom's ticket the citing officer declares the violations were not committed in his presence but are declared truthfully under penalty of perjury under the State of California based on information and belief.

Also, while being arrested at the grocery store she was asked to show her papers. Who carries their papers all the time? All you need on you is a driver's license/identification card unless you're going to Tijuana or you know, out of the country.

Needless to say, one of the other women was going to be sent back to Honduras and leave her daughter here without a mother because of a bar of soap she supposedly stole.

My mom has been an American Citizen for over 10 years. I'm enraged my mother has gone through this and want to prevent any other women from going through a similar experience.

Why is it our rights are being infringed upon even while we're out grocery shopping just because of the color of our skin?

Please, if anyone has had a similar experience let's come together and prevent further racial profiling if we can.

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