Phoenix officer fears for Hispanic rights

2010-07-21T00:00:00Z Phoenix officer fears for Hispanic rights Arizona Daily Star
July 21, 2010 12:00 am

Phoenix police officer David Salgado patrols the Phoenix streets just a few miles from where he grew up and where his mother still lives.

The officer has worked to establish relationships and trust with Hispanic residents in a central Phoenix neighborhood.

He says that trust began to crack days after Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law Senate Bill 1070.

Salgado filed suit against Brewer in April in U.S. District Court in Phoenix. In his claim, he says that to enforce the law, he would violate the rights of Hispanics and be forced to expend his own time and resources to familiarize himself with the law's requirements.

The 19-year police veteran believes the law is too vague because it doesn't exclude victims or witnesses from being questioned or turned over to immigration officials when finished with the investigation.

He worries about people like his 78-year-old mother, a U.S. citizen, who speaks in Spanish whenever she becomes nervous, he said.

"You're going to have families, three, four, five generations in the U.S., questioned," he said. "It's going to happen."

Then, there is concern about Hispanic residents, legal and not, no longer contacting police out of fear.

"It's a large concern as an officer because you built a trust that went down the drain."

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