Randy Parraz Lawsuit Vs. Maricopa County Over '08 Arrest Can Proceed, Judge Rules
Randy Parraz, anti-Arpaio activist, is suing the county because of a questionable 2008 arrest by deputies. Yesterday, a federal judge rejected a county motion to dismiss the case.
A lawsuit filed by activist Randy Parraz against Maricopa County following his 2008 arrest outside the Board of Supervisors Auditorium can move ahead, a federal judge ruled yesterday.
Parraz was arrested on September 29, 2008, after he and members of his group, Maricopa Citizens for Safety and Accountability, held a demonstration at a Supervisors' meeting to protest abuses by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and were asked to leave. As yesterday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver explains, though, (see below), Parraz was arrested after he'd already left the downtown Phoenix auditorium, a public building, and was standing outside. A dispute remains as to whether Arpaio's deputies had probable cause to arrest Parraz on suspicion of trespassing and disorderly conduct, Silver wrote.
Her ruling was made in response a motion for summary judgment made by the county, which had argued that deputies were justified in arresting Parraz. The ruling includes a transcript of a videotaped conversation between Parraz and deputies that preceded his arrest, which reveal that when Parraz asked why he was being asked to leave the spot outside the building and what law he was breaking, a deputy answered, "It doesn't matter."
Image: Courtesy of Dennis Gilman Captain David Letourneau reportedly called Parraz a "coward," a court ruling in Parraz's lawsuit states.
Parraz had exited the building immediately after being asked to do so by deputies, records show. But he refused to budge from a taped-off area just outside the doors. The area had been cordoned off with yellow tape to ease access for people exiting and entering the building. A small group of deputies converged on him, reportedly pushing aside other activists as they approached.
In his lawsuit, Parraz "alleges his arrest was politically motivated and he was singled out for arrest for his perceived role as 'ringleader' of MCSA," records state. He had stopped outside the building for about 35 seconds to talk with deputies "only to determine the basis for his removal from the premises," Silver wrote.
The videotaped exchange went down as follows:
Plaintiff: What law's been broken?
Deputy: It doesn't matter.
Plaintiff: Yes it does.
Deputy: [Inaudible. It appears the deputy is asking Plaintiff to
Plaintiff: I said no. What law's been broken? I said no. I said no,
what's the law being broken?
Deputy: Okay guy, we asked you to leave.
Plaintiff: We left.
Deputy: Okay, once you're escorted out, you are trespassing . . .
Plaintiff: No, no, trespassing's in the building.
Deputy: You gotta go out there, okay?
Deputy: [Inaudible, it appears a deputy is saying, "The property."]
Plaintiff: This is a public place.
Deputy: Sir, you're being told to leave this area.
Plaintiff: I was told to leave the meeting. I left the meeting. Give
me a break. I left the meeting.
Deputy: Either leave now, or you're gonna get arrested.
Deputy: Step down, or you'll be arrested.
Plaintiff: Why do I have to move? What's the broken law?
Deputy: He's a 42.
Deputy: [Multiple deputies speaking, it appears one says, "You're
Plaintiff: For what?
Plaintiff: I'm leaving.
Deputy: Too late now.
Plaintiff: I'm walking away, what are, what are you guys talking
Parraz was then "handcuffed, walked to another area where his belongings were invoiced, then shackled in leg irons and a belly chain." Deputies booked him into the Fourth Avenue jail.