The Militant (logo)  
   Vol.66/No.35           September 23, 2002  
Protesters in Washington’s Yakima Valley
oppose cop assault and frame-up of worker
YAKIMA, Washington--In an angry protest against police violence, dozens of people marched in front of the police headquarters here September 3, chanting in English and Spanish, "Stop Police Brutality" and "Drop the Charges." They were demanding that the cops who beat and arrested Ricardo Jiménez be prosecuted and that the charges against him be dropped.

The Jiménez family was hosting a baptism party for their two-year-old son on August 31 when the gathering was attacked by police. Lucil Jiménez, wife of Ricardo, reported there were 40 guests at her home, including 15 children.

"One cop showed up and told us to turn down the music and lights. We did," she said. "An hour later more police came and wanted to speak to my husband. They wanted him to come outside off our property to speak to them. My husband refused. More police came and one rushed into the house and knocked Ricardo to the floor. The cop handcuffed him and then began beating him.

"More police came into the house and one hit an 11-year-old girl with a baton, and they pepper sprayed everyone in sight, including the children."

The police claim Jiménez’s guests attacked them. One cop told the Yakima Herald-Republic, "A crowd of 30 to 50 people began hitting officers and tugging at their firearms." The newspaper also noted that according to court papers, the cops reported they hit Ricardo Jiménez "several times."

Lucil Jiménez replied, "The police are lying about being attacked. Almost half of the guests at my house were under 12 years old. We don’t know why they beat my husband."

Another witness to the assault was Demencio Abundiz, cousin of 26-year-old Ricardo. "The police got angry at my cousin because he refused to go outside the house and told the police they could not come inside," he said. "The police would not tell him what they wanted. Ricardo refused and they attacked him. We videotaped the attack. They even pointed a gun at me and told me to turn off the camera. The cops think they can do whatever they want." Describing the huge police presence, Abundiz said, "I stopped counting at 17 patrol cars, including riot police and dogs."

According to other witnesses, children were roughed up and pepper sprayed by the cops. Lucil Jiménez said, "We took two children to the hospital. One was five and the other 11. The five year old was bleeding from the nose from the pepper spray and the hospital refused to treat her because we had no insurance."

Among the pickets were representatives of the Washington Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees, United Farm Workers (UFW), Western Council of Industrial Workers, and Socialist Workers Party.

UFW organizer Ana Guzmán said in an interview, "I am here to support my community and all those who are treated like this. I’m opposed to police brutality and came to demand justice for Ricardo.

Rogelio Montes, an organizer for the Western Council of Industrial Workers and an organizer of the protest, said, "I was a guest at the celebration and I saw what happened. We organized this protest in less than 24 hours. It is a good start. We are out here to get justice. We will do another picket this Friday."

Jiménez, who is being held on $25,000 bail, was arraigned September 5. He was charged with two counts of assaulting a police officer, forgery, resisting arrest, and giving a false statement to police. If convicted of all charges Jiménez could face more than 16 years in prison and pay up to $36,000 in fines. Members of the Jiménez family and their supporters are raising funds to cover the bail.  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home