December 21, 2015 Latino Advocacy
For Immediate Release
Claim for Damages Filed Against City of Bellingham for Allowing Racial Profiling by BPD
Community members join to hold City of Bellingham and BPD Accountable to Communities of Color
Bellingham, WA – Alfredo “Lelo” Juarez, victim of racial profiling by Bellingham police officers on June 20, 2015 during a regular traffic stop, will file a Claim for Damages to the City of Bellingham after having filed a complaint to Bellingham Police Department (BPD) for racial profiling back on September 18, 2015. On December 9, 2015 BPD released the result of the internal investigation on their own officers to media outlets and according to them found no wrongdoing.
Community groups were not surprised to hear the news from media outlets and are ready to continue supporting Lelo in his quest for justice by accompanying him tomorrow Tuesday, December 21 in filing a Claim for Damages to the City of Bellingham.
WHAT: Filing of Claim for Damages Against City of Bellingham
WHERE: Bellingham City Hall- 210 Lottie St, Bellingham WA 98225
WHEN: Tuesday December 22, 2015 at 10AM PT
WHO: Lelo Juarez’ legal team, and community members
Bellingham Police Department has publically denied collaborating with Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in local traffic matters. Lelo was stopped by BPD and requested identification from him. When he couldn’t produce any, instead of being taken to the station for verification of his identity or calling his parents, BPD transferred Lelo into CBP custody. Lelo spent the night in CBP custody at the Ferndale holding center and the next morning was transported to the NWDC in Tacoma for deportation proceedings.
Thanks to community groups in which Lelo participates, including Community to Community Development, he was released from detention in less than 12 hours.
BPD has shown a lack of professionalism and respect for the community by prioritizing actions to keep their image clean before the local media instead of taking Lelo’s claim seriously. BPD has reached out to media outlets before Lelo’s family. They did so with the release of video cam footage, as well as, the result of their investigation.
Currently, City of Bellingham and BPD have been approved for predictive policing software; community leaders have expressed concern to the Mayor and the City Council that this will lead to more racial profiling despite denials from the BPD Chief Cook. Lelo’s case exemplifies the current systemic racial bias at the Bellingham Police Department.
Not1More deportation campaign, Community to Community, the Whatcom Civil Rights Project, and Latino Advocacy will meet outside the Bellingham City Hall on December 22, 2015, to show support for Lelo and community members who are targets of routine stops, racial profiling, and abuses by local law enforcement. Lelo continues this journey for justice to support other victims and people who live in fear. He wishes to bring these abuses by law enforcement into the light of day.
Maru Mora Villalpando