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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                   January 22, 2007

Contact: Margot Veranes, 520-405-4112

 

 “GUILTY” on all charges for Roy Warden’s hate crimes:
But will the sentence reflect the crime?

 

( Tucson , Arizona ) Tucson ’s Latino and immigrant communities await Monday’s sentencing of white supremacist and Mexican flag-burning Roy Warden by Tucson City Court Judge Hays. On December 27, 2006, Warden was found guilty of assaulting, threatening and intimidating 16-year old student Arturo Rodríguez, and two of his young family members. Until now, Judge Hays and Tucson ’s criminal justice system had not found Roy Warden guilty of his racist and violent actions. These include an assault of Fox News camera man, Ruben Fuentes, and Warden’s reckless flag-burning in the heart of the massive 15,000-person April 10, 2006 immigrant rights rally—a provocation that ended in immigrant rights activist youth and elders being assaulted by police and wrongfully arrested.

“If I could talk to Roy Warden, I would tell him that he can keep defending what he wants, but without violence, without hurting and offending not just my children and grandchildren, but everyone. He should apologize to them and never do this again,” said Rosa Rodríguez, whose two sons and one grandson were the victims of Warden’s physical and verbal assault. Community members and Mr. Rodriguez’s family had feared Warden would again be acquitted after they again saw Judge Hays and City Prosecutor Alan Merritt bend over backwards to allow Warden’s theatrics. During the trial Roy Warden’s out-of-state attorney, Gary Kreep, and Warden’s witnesses used racist arguments that Latino youth are inherently threatening.  They claimed that all Latinos/as who wear “baggy” clothes are “gangbangers.” One of Warden’s witnesses, the City of Tucson ’s Assistant Chief of Police Kathleen Robinson, admitted on the stand that even she was afraid to approach Warden. However, she further testified that she repeatedly warned Warden that she “feared for his safety,” thus encouraging his wild paranoia and propensity toward violence.

Warden, armed with a gun and taser, has repeatedly threatened the lives of Latino community members. A video recording presented at Warden’s trial showed him assaulting Mr. Rodríguez, screaming racial slurs, and shouting, “I’ll put a fu*king bullet in your head!” while the youth videotaped Warden’s attack. This video footage can be viewed on Pan Left’s website (http://www.panleft.org/activismdetail.php?article_ID=39).  Warden’s history of violence against the Latino/a community and immigrant rights activists includes a May 12, 2006 email to Pima County Legal Defender Isabel García and Public Defenders Robert Hooker and Margo Cowan in which Warden stated, “I will not hesitate to draw my weapon and blow your freaking heads off.” 

The Tucson April 10th Coalition calls upon Judge Hays to protect Latino and all community members by issuing a sentence that reflects the gravity and violence of his crime and his violent history. We demand that Judge Hays give Warden supervised probation for the maximum time period, levy the maximum fine, revoke his gun permit, ban him from carrying a taser, ban him from contact with the Rodríguez family, ban him from future immigrant rights events and the workplaces of community members he has threatened, require him to undergo extensive anger management counseling and forbid Warden from setting fires in any public area. In addition, Judge Hays must clarify with Warden that entry into his false “perimeter” does not constitute a threat to Warden’s person.

Judge Hays has a history of leniency when it comes to Warden. Not only did he acquit Warden of all April 10th charges, he has allowed Warden to bring his hatred into the courtroom. Throughout Warden’s previous trial, Warden stomped on a Mexican flag and wore a T-shirt with profane language and a photo of prominent immigrant rights leader, Isabel García, whose life he has threatened multiple times.