A pair of American women detained by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent after they were overheard speaking in Spanish at a Montana convenience store have reached an undisclosed settlement in their lawsuit against agency, the ACLU announced.
Ana Suda and Martha “Mimi” Hernandez were out buying groceries in the city of Havre, a small town about 35 miles from the Canadian border, when they were approached by Agent Paul O’Neal the night of May 16, 2018. He asked both women for their IDs and then admitted to doing so because he heard them chatting in another language.
The incident sparked widespread backlash after video of the interaction, recorded by Suda, went viral online.
“Ma’am, the reason I asked you for your ID is because I came in here and I saw that you guys are speaking Spanish, which is very unheard of up here,” O’Neal can be heard saying in the clip.
When asked whether he was racially profiling them, the agent denied it.
“It has nothing to do with that,” he says. “It’s the fact that it has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store, in a state where it’s predominantly English-speaking.”
Suda was born in Texas and moved to Montana with her husband in 2014. Hernandez was born in California and moved to Montana in 2010. Both are certified nursing assistants and worked at an assisted-living center in the state.
The pair also had valid Montana driver’s licenses and showed them to O’Neal and a supervisor, who arrived later on the scene. According to the lawsuit, the agents made it clear through words and actions that the women were not free to leave the convenience store parking lot for nearly an hour.
Their lawsuit contended O’Neal violated their Fourth Amendment right “because there was no legitimate reason to seize the women; and of equal protection, because the agent singled the women out based on race, relying on their use of Spanish as justification and proxy for race.”
The court documents additionally noted that “America is a multi-lingual, multi-racial and multi-ethnic country” with “no official language.”
In settling the case, U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not admit liability and added in a statement that “the overwhelming majority of CBP employees and officers perform their duties with honor and distinction, working tirelessly every day to keep our country safe.”
It’s unclear whether O’Neal still works for the agency or if he faced any disciplinary action in the case.
In wake of filing their complaint against the agency, both Suda and Hernandez moved out of Havre due to the backlash they faced over the viral incident.
The city of nearly 10,000 people, located about about 30 miles from the U.S.-Canada border and near two Native American reservations, is mostly white, with about 15% Native American and about 4% Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census.
“We stood up to the government because speaking Spanish is not a reason to be racially profile and harassed,” Suda said in a statement provided by the ACLU.
“I am proud to be bilingual, and I hope that as a result of this case CBP takes a hard look at its policies and practices. No one else should ever have to go through this again.”
A maskless Trump supporter deliberately exhaled droplets at a woman outside President Donald Trump’s golf resort after the woman asked him to back away from her and observe proper social distancing.
Video of the incident was filmed and posted by Reel Political News White House correspondent Douglas Christian, who wrote “Trump supporter forcefully exhaling without a mask on a protester outside the Trump National Golf Club, Nov. 21, 2020”.
In the clip, the woman can be heard telling a man wearing a Trump shirt and carrying a mylar Trump balloon to “Get away from me, get away, you are in my face and you don’t have a mask so you need to back off.”
The man tells her “Do what you want, sweetheart, I’m not in anybody’s face,” then inhales deeply and forcefully, audibly exhales in the woman’s direction.
“That’s assault!” the horrified woman exclaims.
“Call the cops and ask them to come get me,” the man responds, sarcastically.
So here we have a clear view of what the cult supporters of the Dear Leader are. They are thugs with no concern for anyone else, no sense of common decency, no acceptable societal behaviors. Just raw emotions, I want, I want, I should have what I want. Normally the run in gangs. Sadly they seem backed up by the police, which is a very bad sign for democracy. Hugs
Via press release from Lambda Legal:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit today reversed a lower court ruling and struck down local Palm Beach County. Florida, and City of Boca Raton ordinances banning so-called conversion therapy on minors. Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings issued the following statement:
“The City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County joined states and municipalities across the country who have properly banned the discredited and harmful practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ on minors in order to protect LGBTQ youth. Laws prohibiting this dangerous practice have withstood legal challenges in numerous courts. Today’s decision is a marked departure from precedent and an incredibly dangerous decision for our youth.
“So-called ‘conversion therapy’ is nothing less than child abuse. It poses documented and proven critical health risks, including depression, shame, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal, substance abuse, self-harm and suicide. Youth are often subjected to these practices at the insistence of parents who don’t know or don’t believe that the efforts are harmful and doomed to fail: when these efforts predictably fail to produce the expected result, many LGBTQ children are kicked out of their homes.
“Both judges joining today’s decision were appointed by President Trump. We fear that today’s decision may be the tip of the iceberg in terms of the harm that may come from a federal judiciary that has been packed for the last four years with dangerous ideologues. The damage done by this misguided opinion is incalculable and puts young people in danger.”
Photo: Federalist Society’s Andrew Brasher, whose nomination to a lower federal court failed to advance in 2018, at his successful 11th Circuit Court nomination hearing before the US Senate in December 2019.
🚨11th Circuit rules that bans on anti-LGBTQ "conversion therapy" violate the First Amendment. 2–1 decision, both judges in the majority appointed by Trump. A really awful and frightening decision.
Note that these bans only apply to minors and licensed counselors. Not clergy or private citizens. And lawmakers found that trying to change a child's sexual orientation or gender identity is extremely harmful and dangerous. The 11th Circuit's Trump judges don't care.
This is what Rule By Trump Judges looks like: We are not allowed to shield LGBTQ youth from discredited "conversion therapy," even though it increases risk of suicide.
Trump judges won't let LGBTQ people protect our own communities, our own children, from harm. Sickening.
Today's decision from the 11th Circuit blocking bans on LGBTQ "conversion therapy" for minors creates a circuit split. There is thus a very good chance the Supreme Court will now take up the issue. I have no real doubt that SCOTUS will find these bans unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court's six conservative justices will likely (1) strike down laws barring licensed counselors from seeking to change a minor's sexual orientation or gender identity, and (2) continue to uphold laws that force physicians to recite anti-abortion propaganda to patients.
This is an important point from Martin's dissent. The majority claims there's not enough evidence that "conversion therapy" is harmful. But medical experts have said *it would be unethical* to conduct the research that the majority demands, because it would harm children.
One startling aspect of today's opinion: The majority discredits the opposition of *every mainstream medical organization* to "conversion therapy," claiming that these groups are simply trying to censor therapists who don't share "majority preferences."
For the first time in 23 years, Texas is poised to adopt updates to its curriculum on sex education, affecting an estimated 5.5 million public school students across the state. But the new policies, which are set for a final vote on Friday, do not include information that recognizes the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ youth.
According to the Texas Tribune, the state’s board of education held a preliminary vote on Wednesday to require middle schools to teach students about forms of birth control other than abstinence. The new requirements reportedly include instruction regarding “the effectiveness and the risks and failure rates … of barrier protection and other contraceptive methods in the prevention of STDs, STIs and pregnancy.”
But many of the more progressive proposals put forward to the Texas Board of Education’s 15-member body, which is dominated by Republicans, were rejected in a September meeting. These included lessons that would define terms like sexual orientation and gender identity, while advising students to treat their peers with respect regardless of whether they are LGBTQ+ identified or not.
Other rejected amendments would have entailed having discussions in the classroom regarding abortion and affirmative consent. One board member felt that teaching young people about consent would amount to “grooming” for pedophiles and sex traffickers, as The Guardian newspaper reported.
The Texas Board of Education reportedly held 27 hours of public testimony regarding the new sex ed curriculum over the past year, with individuals advocating for and against LGBTQ+ inclusion. One of the most vocal supporters of inclusive sex ed guidelines was fellow board member Ruben Cortez, Jr., a Democrat, who introduced an amendment to teach students about “bullying and harassment because of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.” The suggestion was ultimately voted down.
“We’re here, as representatives of this body, to represent the voices of every child,” he said, in comments recorded by the local news publication Austin American-Statesman. “We’re leaving out a big segment of kids when we take these types of actions.”
Other proponents of LGBTQ+ inclusion included the Texas Freedom Network, a left-leaning, grassroots organization that works to protect civil liberties in public schools. Its outreach and advocacy coordinator, Jules Mandel, said the group is “incredibly disappointed” the Texas Board of Education failed “to be on the right side of history and to give Texas a modern sex education curriculum, rather than keeping students trapped in the past.”
“We were deeply disappointed by the votes taken on four amendments that would have simply acknowledged that LGBTQ people exist and that we, just like everyone else, deserve to be treated with respect regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity,” Mandel told the American-Statesman.
The updates, which are extremely likely to be confirmed during Friday’s round of final votes, also neglected to remove anti-LGBTQ+ language which has been on the books in Texas for decades. According to the nationwide student advocacy group GLSEN, Texas is one of six states — including Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Carolina — which currently has “no promo homo” laws in place preventing the “promotion of homosexuality” in the classroom. (A district court ruled South Carolina’s law unconstitutional in 2020, but it has not been formally removed.)
Two different statutes in the Texas Health and Safety Code require that teachers lecturing students in topics regarding sex ed “state that homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense,” despite the fact that the state’s anti-sodomy laws were struck down by the Supreme Court in 2003.
Despite Texas’ restrictive laws regarding LGBTQ+ education in schools, inclusive sex ed is broadly popular among residents. According to a survey cited by The Guardian, two-thirds of Texas voters believe that public school programs “should incorporate standards about respecting people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity.”
Should the Texas Board of Education vote in favor of the new curriculum, it will not be adopted until 2022. One quirk of the proposed regulations is that they may not apply to high school students, as high schoolers in Texas are not required to take sex ed classes in order to graduate. Furthermore, a 2016 report from the Texas Freedom Network found that 83% of Texas school districts either offered abstinence-only education or simply didn’t teach sex ed at all.
Is this the country we have become? What happened to our democracy and the smooth transfer of power we bragged about? Is this the democracy we have waged 20 plus years of wars to bring to other countries, now we here have fighting fractions willing to kill each other in the streets to get their candidate in office? Think about it please? We went to war over nearly 3,000 dead, yet we refused to wear masks when we have over 245,000 dead. Hugs
The top elections official in Arizona called on President Trump and members of Congress on Wednesday to stop “perpetuating misinformation” as she faces threats of violence following this month’s election, the first time Arizona has voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1996.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) said in a statement that the “ongoing and escalating threats of violence” against her, her family and her office are “utterly abhorrent,” pledging that the “continued intimidation tactics will not prevent me from performing the duties I swore an oath to do.”
She specifically faulted Trump and other elected officials for fueling distrust in the voting system.
“There are those, including the president, members of Congress and their elected officials, who are perpetuating misinformation and are encouraging others to distrust the election results in a manner that violates the oath of office they took,” Hobbs said. “It is well past time that they stop. Their words and actions have consequences.”
“Now, I am calling on other leaders in the state, including the governor whose deafening silence has contributed to the growing unrest, to stand up for the truth,” she added.
The secretary of state also called out Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward, accusing her of spreading conspiracy theories.
The statement came a day after Arizona officials announced they were looking into an apparent death threat against Hobbs.
The threat, made over Parler, the social media site that has attracted conservatives disenchanted with Twitter, “was something like, ‘Let’s burn her house down and kill her and her family, and teach these fraudsters a lesson,'” Hobbs told NBC affiliate 12 News in Phoenix.
She said her home address and personal information as well as her son’s cellphone number were posted on Parler.
Threats against Hobbs ramped up last week after the resurfacing of a tweet from three years ago in which she accused Trump of being “more interested in pandering to his neo-nazi base than being @POTUS for all Americans.”
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R) chief of staff, Daniel Scarpinato, told 12 News that the governor was aware of the threats against Hobbs.
“We don’t condone threats against any elected officials and would provide any and all resources that are needed to ensure the secretary … and her family are safe and protected,” Scarpinato said.
This morning as I was doing the roundup the news videos were showing miles long multiple lanes cars waiting for 8 hours or more for some food. Is this the US, the greatest country on earth according to the tRump cult? This is the country called the wealthiest on earth. We just sent a crew to the ISS but we can not feed the people. We can not keep the people housed and safe. That reminds me of the USSR in the days before it fell. Miles long waiting over 8 hours in places for food and McConnell will only agree to give more money to business and insists they get complete legal protection to abuse and harm the workers. What dystopian hellscape has the US become? The cult has been repeating the fears of Socialism but this situation is happening under Republican capitalism. Hugs