Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cops say what they really think about ASU Professor Ore in online fourms and it's not pretty

Just keyboard warriors? Behold one cop's response to the arrest of Professor Ore. Here's what a bunch more had to say. Are you mad yet?

REM870 is a reference to a shotgun commonly used by police

On August first, ASU English professor Ersula Ore will be sentenced for "passively resisting an unlawful arrest" after Officer Stewart Ferrin confronted her for jaywalking and obstructing traffic in closed off a construction zone near the university.

The case sparked outrage, protest and even some drama at one of the Tempe city council candidate forums when outraged community members vocalized their frustration with local cops. As the scandal put pressure on ASU, the officer was put on leave and the two top bosses at the university cop shop were eventually replaced. Local dissident cop blog, The Integrity Report, has been documenting the internal shakeup which at least some officers seem to hope will create an opportunity to rein in a police force that they allege (with a good deal of evidence) is unaccountable and out of control.

Professor Ore (Photo via Phoenix New Times)
But since Ore took responsibility for her act of self-defense, much of the tension has dissipated from this once highly controversial and contentious case. Coverage was mixed in the media but it has mostly dropped off the radar as she moves towards sentencing.

Notable exceptions include a recent exchange of letters to the editor, one by former Mesa cop Bill Richardson defending Ferrin's character, followed by a response challenging it ("Letter: Police officer's personality doesn't matter"), both run in the State Press, ASU's east campus newspaper. Over the course of the scandal, one particular local weekly news blog/magazine left some very interesting things out of the story, but we'll come back to that at the end.

We at Down and Drought pay a lot of attention to the police, including cop online forums. So when we saw last week that New York Magazine had run a piece focusing on the comments from officers on various cop websites regarding the recent death of a cigarette vender, who appears to have died as a result of very rough treatment by the NYPD, we thought we'd give the Ore case the same treatment. We thought: let's see what cops have to say online about her case, under the cover of (what they think is ) anonymity.

As the NY Magazine article points out, in order to post on cop forums like, you have to register and be verified as an actual cop or retired law enforcement officer. boasts over 200,000 members and claims that they "confirm the status of all officers registering... by calling that officer’s department directly." Which means when you read opinions from commentators on their forums, you can be pretty sure you're getting the thoughts of a cop or former cop.

We were able to track some of these officers back to their departments ourselves through basic internet searches and confirm that they are in fact cops, but we weren't able to link any of them directly to ASU -- although some of the comments we looked at demonstrated knowledge of policing in Tempe and Arizona.

That said, it's important to note that the comments we're sharing here, while outrageous, weren't out of step with the general tenor of comments we found. No comments defended Ore and most posters thought that Ferrin had been too forgiving with her. As we've demonstrated before, Phoenix and Tempe police have notoriously bad senses of humor (see here, and here, and here). So there's no reason to think that they are any better than online cops in terms of their opinions.

So let's dig in and see what some cops had to say about the Ore arrest. To get things started, here's one officer making a joke referencing sexual assault. Remember, Ore objected vocally on the video about Ferrin's manhandling of her causing her dress to hike up. Thus an officer naturally thought this was an appropriate joke to make.

 In the same comment thread, another officer chimes in:

In a different post on the same site, user "SgtDavidWilliams" rushes to Ferrin's defense, counseling that she's lucky she didn't get the rougher treatment he thinks she deserved:

Advocating for less tolerance and a higher degree of violence was common in the online cop forums we looked at. Most officers took the position that Ferrin had been too kind in his interaction with Ore.

Officers also frequently argued for liberal use of the Taser. One user hinted in a "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" sort of way that "I did see a taser on his belt, correct?" In the comment below, the reference to "sparky" (the taser) may or may not be a double entendre also alluding to the ASU mascot, but it certainly indicates a casualness that is disturbing when it comes to the use of a weapon that has been linked to many deaths over the years.

Along similar lines was another comment boasting that the "college professor would've met the pavement far sooner had I been arresting her." Yet another joked that Ferrin should "probably work on that straight arm bar takedown." Later in the thread another member says, "She really needed to taste the color of the paint on the hood."

Another set of comments focused on Ore's race and gender, reflecting the usual tact and sophistication that one tends to expect from the reactionary right.



In an era of increasing skepticism and worry about the police, even on the traditionally law and order right, comments like those we found don't do cops any favors in the PR department. If white middle class people -- the traditional base of support for law enforcement, no matter how brutal -- are worried about their interactions with police then it's an indication of something significant going on. Police should be worried. The carte blanche they've had for, well, basically forever may be in danger.

And those curious omissions I mentioned at the beginning? One of the curious features of the Ore coverage was the oddly reactionary treatment from the Phoenix New Times, spearheaded by Ray Stern. Stern went pretty hard against Ore. He conceded Ferrin's approach appeared "mildly thuggish," but when Ore pleaded guilty he pronounced somewhat smugly that, "it looks like Ore's done fighting the good fight. We're not expecting her to follow up on the threat she made in the video to sue the (bleep) out of the officer or ASU."

In one article, Stern in passing gives us a brief history of Stewart Ferrin, who it was revealed early on hails from a law enforcement family and had long harbored aspirations of continuing that legacy. But what legacy? Strangely, Stern fails to mention another little bit of Ferrin law enforcement family history -- one detailed in the very archives of the Phoenix New Times itself!

In a September 1998 article entitled "Thrust and Parry," the New Times detailed in a feature article the story of Alvin Yellowhair, a Native American student at ASU who alleged that Stewart Ferrin's father, John Ferrin, then an officer with the Tempe PD, had beaten and sodomized him with a nightstick after arresting him at a party.

"Advocating for less tolerance and a higher degree of violence was common in the online cop forums we looked at." 

The case, which involved missing evidence and allegations of obstructionism from city officials, was eventually ruled in Ferrin's favor, and he came out the winner in a lawsuit by Yellowhair, too, which was finally resolved by jury in 2005. But the case led to allegations of an out of control police force without proper supervision and the revelation that the senior Ferrin, at that point, had had four citizen complaints against him which the city didn't want to reveal. Does any of this sound familiar? White cop, civilian person of color, ASU, use of force, out of control police force, potential cover up and lack of investigation? Quite an omission, if you ask me!

But Stern's probably right when he says that "ASU's very sensitive to the pubic perception, especially given President Michael Crow's goal to attract 100,000 students to lucrative online-degree programs." Indeed, the University should be concerned about how they will be viewed by prospective or returning students and their parents. Especially if those students aren't white.

Nothing to see here!

As Professor Ore faces sentencing, with a shakeup going on at ASU PD, and with residents in the surrounding neighborhoods increasingly fed up with both the actions of local cops and the complete failure of the politicians to do anything about it, the university and the city would each be well-advised to consider taking immediate public steps to address these concerns with concrete actions.

Locals have put forward several options, from repealing the loud party ordinances that so quickly can escalate under heavy handed policing, to canceling the upcoming "safe & sober" campaign (in which cops invade the neighborhoods and detain residents at rates higher than NYC's "stop & frisk" program), or selling off controversial spy equipment like the Stingray mass cell phone monitoring device.

How about a program of de-militarizing TPD in general? In an era of mass corporate tax giveaways downtown, why not raise some cash by selling off that useless cop clutter? On a related note, does the Tempe Citizens’ Panel for Review of Police Complaints and Use of Force even meet? Down and Drought has been following the public page for this supposed oversight board for a year now and have yet to see a single posting for a public meeting nor any updates on what they're up to.

Meanwhile candidates for city council have to be forced by angry crowds to discuss the police, and the only solutions they seem to have is lavishing them with even more expensive toys which residents can be assured they will abuse. Increasingly, Tempe government looks completely out of step with a public that is asking themselves just what the hell is going on with the cops that patrol their neighborhoods. Does the city have any answers for them? It appears that answer is, no.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Interstate 11: Privatized Roads, Privatized Water

Last year Down & Drought published three articles from the excellent Stop CANAMEX blog, perhaps the only local resource for researched and detailed information on proposed infrastructure projects in Arizona.  In post after post, the blog produces the names of the projects and the players behind the push for massive new highway projects, international trade deals, and how they relate to economic zones like the proposed "Sun Corridor" megaregion.  As bloggers, academics, and journalists debate and opine over the future supplies of the region's water and the potential for shortages in the very near future, this latest piece from the Stop CANAMEX project names the names of the developers and how they plan to profit, while the potential for drought and water scarcity looms.

You might not think Interstate 11 has anything to do with water privatization, but it does, and considering our water shortages, we should be worried.

Pushes for water privatization cannot be separated from the increased move towards public-private partnerships (P3 or PPP) for infrastructure projects--especially when both consultants for the I-11 study are steeped in P3s in transportation and water.

This is not to imply that these consultants, CH2MHILL and AECOM, are involved with Interstate 11 because they also want to privatize our water (although it's possible). But the depth of their involvement in water privatization and P3s in general shows a likelihood that I-11, or parts of it, is intended to be a P3. The more experience Arizona has with P3s, the easier it will be to implement various projects including water. Water is privatized in many other countries, often due to conditions for loans by the World Bank, a tendency seen with structural adjustment programs. P3 arrangements make it more likely that the private side will call the shots. We might get a road we don't even want, just because some companies can make some money. And we may end up with a bigger water problem.

Obama made water privatization in the US easier, when on June 13 of this year, he signed the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) into law. This included the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (WIFIA) which is a 5-year pilot program providing financing for P3s for water projects.

2014 618 priv st
Image: Denis Bocquet / Flickr
WIFIA, mirroring the "Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act" (TIFIA), was a concept developed and promoted by the American Water Works Association (AWWA). What does this have to do with the I-11 Study consultants? AWWA, a non-profit, is supported by CH2MHILL and closely affiliated with AECOM. AECOM Senior Consultant Jim Chaffee was president of the AWWA until very recently.

There is no doubt that both consultants are immersed in the world of infrastructure P3 promotion. CH2MHILL supports The National Council for Public-Private Partnerships and has a couple members on the steering committee of the NCPPP's Water Institute. The Senior Vice President of the investment arm of AECOM, Samara Barend's testimony to congress back in May was meant to encourage federal facilitation of P3s on a larger scale. 

AECOM put out the white paper, Fostering a Larger Private-Sector Role in United States Infrastructure in which their number one recommendation in the executive summary reads, "Expand the use of PPPs for surface transportation projects. This can be achieved by extend [sic] the successful TIFIA and [Private Activity Bond (PAB)] programs before they expire in 2015." Number 2 includes, "Pass the proposed 'WIFIA' pilot program to provide long-term, flexible low-interest subordinated debt financing terms to water utilities...Enable the WIFIA program funds to be partnered with PABs, as has proven successful with TIFIA."

TIFIA loans and availability payments, and possibly tax-exempt PABs, are being considered for I-11, especially since collection of tolls on the future Interstate 11 would be controversial, even while concessions are still an option. You can listen to AECOM's Samara Barend, brimming with enthusiasm, break down different types of P3s and the financing options in the video Public-Private Partnerships: Lipinski Symposium On Transportation Policy & Strategy.

A previous post on this blog, Companies seek partnership with ADOT to profit on freeway, Part 2: The Methods, explains the draw these options have for companies seeking to make money off of infrastructure projects. These and more are listed as options in the I-11 Study draft Implementation Report.

As Ellin Dannin of Truthout pointed out, with programs like TIFIA and WIFIA, "rather than the private partner coming to the rescue of cash-strapped governments, it is the public that must subsidize private contractors."

ADOT just released a Request for Information regarding its Statewide Assets, on July 2 as part of their Public Private Partnership Initiative. Since ADOT has several projects on the table, this step allows them to feel out the industry's interest before putting out a Request for Proposals, either for the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway, the Interstate 11, a North-South corridor, SR 189, or other projects listed on their website.

While P3s are often framed as a better option for the public sector to accomplish their goals with their limited resources, in that they can leverage their assets, P3s are widely promoted by large companies who seek to make money. Construction companies, engineering firms, consultants, and banks all see dollar signs in these projects, and they host conferences and make other efforts to reach out to local officials to steer them in that direction. For example, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs are involved with P3 conferences like the National P3 Symposium. Both AECOM and CH2MHill are sponsors and attendees of the ARTBA P3s in Transportation Conference and the 2015 Global Water Summit who uses the phrase "the water value revolution" and whose website is

Many such companies worry about their fate if the economy doesn't allow for governments to implement as many infrastructure projects. For example, Goldman Sachs listed AECOM as one of the companies that would go under if government spending was severely limited, considering that AECOM has 62% sales exposure to government. Their survival largely hinges on access to P3 deals. No wonder they're pushing the idea.

They have already made some money from the the I-11 Study which cost approximately 2.5 million dollars. While it would likely be a conflict of interest for either consultant to get a Design-Build, etc. deal on I-11, their interest in P3s remain. Corporate Accountability International warns that private water companies often get a foot hold on further water privatization deals by entering into consultation partnerships first.

An interesting fact is that Mike Kies, the ADOT project director for the I-11 Study has worked for AECOM. He worked for AECOM on the Arizona Rail Framework Study and the State Rail Plan. He was an AECOM project consultant on an ADOT project to make I-10 5 lanes each way from Tangerine Road to I-8. The article on this project stated, "An improved I-10 can 'support the objectives of the CANAMEX trade corridor, which includes this important segment of I-10,' literature indicates. The CANAMEX corridor presumes greater traffic between Mexico and Canada through the U.S. I-10 is 'not only an important east-west freight route,' but decision-makers 'expect freight movements to increase north and south.'"

Also interesting is that John McNamara of AECOM, then of BRW, Inc., was involved back in 1993 on an Arizona Trade Corridor Study, which is one of the earliest references to CANAMEX.

The Arizona Transportation and Trade Corridor Alliance (TTCA), which "encompasses the former CANAMEX Task Force" just released their Strategic Roadmap, which primarily promotes trade corridors through Arizona, and P3s, with an emphasis on encouraging an effort to get local policy makers and others to understand the "benefits" of trade infrastructure and private involvement in financing. The TTCA was started in 2012, bringing together the public and private sector, including Jim Kolbe, CANAMEX expert of the Arizona Mexico Commission (AMC). This sort of public-private partnership unit allows private interests to influence policy behind closed doors.

From "Scientists on where to be in the 21st century based on sustainability"
Trade and transportation infrastructure of the scale intended by organizations like the AMC/TTCA would require massive amounts of natural resources including water. In addition, the more roads, the more traffic, the more sprawl, the more pollution and use of resources. It's an endless cycle. At the June 25 I-11 in the Phoenix area, Franco Habre asked, "With the current and looming water shortages shouldn't we be applying a moratorium on proposed infrastructure projects?" to which ADOT's Mike Kies responded that it's not his job to be concerned about water. Those whose job it is to be concerned about water, such as the Arizona Department of Water Resources, toured Arizona stating that water desalination is a likely necessity a few years from now. The desalination would likely occur in Mexico or California and be transported to Arizona.

AMC is already moving forward on this, and just announced that,
"This year’s plenary included the signing of an Agreement of Cooperation between the states of Arizona and Sonora through the Arizona Department of Water Resources and Sonora’s State Commission on Water.  This agreement allows both states to jointly evaluate the feasibility of Sea of Cortez desalination to augment and increase water supply resiliency in Arizona and Sonora.  This agreement is signed at a time where the Arizona-Sonora region is facing critical water supply challenges and experiencing extended droughts."
It is highly unlikely that water desalinated and transported from the ocean will not be privatized, especially if the pro-P3 Arizona-Mexico Commission gets in the middle. Desalination plants are increasingly being built in the US for use with brackish water, including one in California which is a public-private partnership, and incidentally, Poseidon Resources Corp, the company behind this plant, held a presentation about this facility for the AMC 2014 Plenary Environment and Water Committee (titled 2-IDE Powerpoint Arizona.pdf within the zip file). Is a water pipeline a possibility for AMC's god-child CANAMEX/I-11?

AMC's interest in water may also have something to do with their relationship with Freeport McMoran, one of their biggest sponsors who's also had someone on their board for several years. Freeport is responsible for massive pollution and human rights violations, particularly in West Papua. In January, Freeport hired the previous director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources as their director of water strategy. And while Freeport has been key in changing Arizona water legislation to be in their favor, they might be worrying that Arizona will mandate that mines use desalinated water as Chile, another location of Freeport's mines, has recently done. Even if Freeport is not worried about being required to use desalinated water, they may be looking ahead to when they've used all other options, having bought up farm land for their water rights and swindling native water rights from various tribes. It may also be significant that Michael J. Lacey, Director of Arizona Department of Water Resources is co-chair of AMC's Environment and Water committee.

The AMC and the World Bank, are interested in opening up public services to market forces, and businesses want to make money off of these deals. Private water companies across the world have experienced resistance to their plans. They therefore know they have to frame their project in a way that is more acceptable to people, such as a public-private partnership leveraging the assets of the municipal government, despite many of the pro-P3 arguments being false. And what is a worse to privatize than a basic need which is a finite resource? Privatizing water means poor people go without it, and conservation is counter to the profit-interest of companies.

With all these plans for transportation infrastructure, water is an issue even if it's not privatized. The more development, the more pollution and wasting of water. They may try to sell their projects as "green" or "sustainable" but increased growth in this region is not sustainable. Additionally, private or not, desalinated water will cost more. We need to halt development and many of the wasteful industrial projects such as the Freeport McMoran mines.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

If ASU can't protect faculty from its violent police, what does it mean for the rest of us?

If you read the outline "ASU Vision and Goals: 2013 and Beyond" hosted on the page of the Office of the President, the first two objectives are as follows:
Maintain the fundamental principle of accessibility to all students qualified to study at a research university

Maintain university accessibility to match Arizona’s socioeconomic diversity
Which may seem more than a bit ironic in light of the recent ASU PD beat down of a black professor who refused to passively submit to a college cop's street harassment. As anyone knows who lives in the area, this particular street is blocked off to traffic for the construction of a pedestrian mall (this is ASU's vision for the future boiled down to its essence, by the way). People routinely cross at this location in other than legal ways as a result of debris, construction materials or because they feel unsafe walking at night.

Photo via AzFamily
While some dispute the assertions of profiling and racism being made about this particular interaction, the fact that this is a white cop stopping a black woman can't be ignored, not least of all given the stark and long history of police racism in both Arizona and the US. The stop has all the hallmarks of "walking while black," the selective harassment and enforcement of often petty laws by law enforcement against blacks. But regardless, the image speaks for itself, and countless people, including potential students and their parents, will now associate ASU with what looks on the face of it to be a racialized and violent police over-reaction and power trip.


On video Dr. Ore is heard asserting over and over that she is a professor at the school, to no avail. The cop, like police in general, isn't about to back down just because there's a more reasonable alternative available (a warning, for instance). And Ore's appeal to her status fell on deaf ears.

Indeed, Dr. Ore's lawyer, Alane M. Roby, is quick to reiterate this status in his public appeals. In a statement to CNN, he said,  "Professor Ore's one crime that evening was to demand respect that she deserves as a productive, educated and tax paying member of society." 

But, of course, it isn't just the "productive, educated and tax-paying" members of society who deserve not to fear getting interrogated and beaten by cops on Tempe streets, it's everyone. So what does this mean for residents and students of lesser stature?

A memorial to Austin Del Castillo (photo via New Times)

Last year, during the height of its ASU-supported "Safe & Sober" invasion of the neighborhoods surrounding the Tempe campus, Tempe police shot and killed Austin Del Castillo in plain daylight at one of the busiest intersections in the city. At least one bullet reportedly missed and hit the now closed but then operational Chili's restaurant. Del Castillo was shot, in part, because he was not acting like a "productive, educated and tax paying member of society." Witnesses disputed police claims that Del Castillo was lunging at officers when they opened fire on him.

Likewise when police let loose on William Barret, who had broken into House of Tricks' renowned wine cache for a taste of the good stuff.  Police blasted on him when he supposedly lobbed an empty bottle at an officer.  The officer was uninjured, but from jail Barret said, “They shot me in the hand. If I stuck my head out they could have shot my head off.” When in doubt, escalate seems to be the ethic of the cops patrolling ASU and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Purchase order for spy camera (Image via The Integrity Report)

Or, when escalation isn't the go-to option, Tempe cops go for humiliation, as in the now infamous case of Sgt. Chuck Schoville. Here at Down and Drought, we've cataloged TPD's many gaffes and abuses, including their really awful sense of humor, their expansion of their secret surveillance powers, their crackdowns on Tempe's traditional party culture, their protection of racist frats, their surveillance of tailgaters at football games, and much more.

Not covered by us, but equally troubling is the post-retirement career of former ASU top cop John Pickens, who will continue to head up University Security Initiatives, ASU's surveillance apparatus (why do they need one?). Note ASU PD's recent purchase of a KJB Security Wall Outlet Hidden Spy Camera. What's that for? Who's getting spied on? Is ASU a university or an intelligence agency (a tip of the hat to Michael Crow and his time working with CIA tech fund In-Q-Tel)?

Meanwhile TPD continues to spend $5 million a year on its own SPARC surveillance center, recently taken to task by former Mesa cop Bill Richardson in the pages of the State Press. In other troubling news, dissident cop blog "The Integrity Report" cites an ongoing history of questionable use of force and lack of accountability at the ASU cop shop. Bloggers there report several uses of force that received no review at all from department bosses. Is anyone in charge over there? Less CIA and more Keystone Kops, it seems.

All together, what we're seeing is the emergence of a local police state in Tempe operating like an army of occupation, not answerable to anyone -- regardless of social status, and apparently not accountable to anyone. In this situation, everyone has reason to be concerned about whether they will land in its cross-hairs, not just professors.

KJB Security Wall Outlet Hidden Spy Camera


Indeed, students and parents of prospective students have good reason to be concerned. If ASU can't protect a black professor from the cops, what chance do those of lesser status have? Can ASU live up to its self-appointed diversity goals if it doesn't reign in its police force?

Round two of "safe & sober" is likely going to commence with the return of students in the Fall. During the last iteration (canceled abruptly after the shooting of Del Castillo), TPD, ASU PD and MCSO (the infamously racist department run by Sheriff Joe) blanketed the streets around the university with cops, making thousands of stops. In fact, as a proportion of the population, "safe & sober" rivaled NYPD's infamous "stop and frisk" campaign. Funded by the Feds, it was likely a real windfall for the city once all the fines were added up. Almost a year later, police have yet to release any details on the racial breakdown of those stops, but if history is any guide, it likely skews heavily towards people of color and other marginalized groups.


ASU has an easy choice here, but that doesn't mean they'll make it. First of all, they should drop the charges against Dr. Ore. Then they need to fire Officer Ferrin. ASU needs to send a message that they honor their commitment to diversity and equal access to ASU and its many scattered off campus facilities. Students and residents need to know they are not going to suffer the same fate -- or worse -- as Dr. Ore.  Finally, they should withdraw from future "safe & sober" campaigns and demand the release of data on the race of those people stopped by all police forces involved, including MCSO. ASU likes to talk big about its commitments to the community. It's time to step up and make good on them.

Arizona doubles down on school to prison pipeline, expands cops in schools

A big story broke for Arizona students the other day and it wasn't the tear-jerker faux apology of state school Superintendent and compulsive racist internet troll John Huppenthal.

While the media has been safely distracted with the important questions raised by the Huppenthal mess, such as just what would a menu at a Mexican restaurant look like if it couldn't use Spanish (i.e., "Can I interest anyone in a corn flour flatbread wrap stuffed with mashed pinto beans and cheese?"), meanwhile the legislature passed a massive expansion of Arizona's school resource officer program.

This program, partially funded by Proposition 301 which passed in 2000, was expanded last week, growing it to include 137 schools and 118 officers with an added price tag of $12 million. Aside from more officers, the deal also includes the addition of three juvenile probation officers. And here's where we get to the crux of the issue.

Source: Arizona Daily Star

Over the last several years, students, activists and parents have expressed increasing concern about what's called the "school to prison pipeline."  As the adult prison population has expanded in this country, so has the number of children behind bars. And even with a relatively recent rise in the use of diversion programs in Arizona, the consequences for students can be severe, as the presence of SROs in schools leads to the increasing criminalization of student behavior, particularly students of color. Police become involved in behavior problems that previously had been treated as administrative discipline issues.

According to a Justice Policy Institute report on SROs in schools:
"In 2001, the Pinellas County (Florida) School District Police made 146 arrests, of which 54 percent were of black students. Comparatively, 19 percent of the District’s enrollment is black.

In South Carolina, black students are more likely to be referred to law enforcement than their white peers. Black students make up 42 percent of student enrollment, but 75 percent of disorderly conduct charges, of which 90 percent are referred to law enforcement.

In the 2001–2002 school year, Latino students were 22 percent of student enrollment, but 34 percent of referrals to law enforcement agencies in Colorado."
Disparities of this order ought to concern anyone and should be part of the discussion around further expanding the role for police in schools.

Source: Justice Policy Institute (.pdf)

Further, racial disparities plainly evident in policing outside school also prevail behind school walls. The ACLU Arizona has also documented the disproportionate criminalization of students of color, noting that both Latino and black youth are over-represented throughout the process, from referral and arrest to incarceration. These disparities result, in no small part, from the proliferation of "zero tolerance policies" in schools, which combine with the presence of SROs to funnel students into the criminal justice system.

These policies, which emerged from the white suburban paranoia in the 80's and 90's over drugs and violence in inner city schools, and solidified as national policy with the passing of the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 (perhaps offering a lesson in the unintended consequences of gun control legislation), have had greater effect in schools attended by nonwhite students.

The Justice Policy Institute has shown a direct correlation between zero tolerance policies and the proportion of students of color in a school, as well as the way that youth of color are targeted at far greater rates than white kids for all manner of disciplinary processes. In Arizona, for instance, suspensions for Native American youth ranks second in the nation and well above the national average. Likewise, according to the Prison Policy Initiative, Indigenous Peoples number 5% of the Arizona population and yet total 10% of its prison population. More SROs will only further exacerbate that disturbing trend.

Source: New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty (.pdf)

And SROs in schools pose a particular threat to immigrant youth in the land of SB1070. In 2013, the ACLU Arizona filed a complaint (.pdf) with the then Superintendent of Sunnyside Unified School District, Dr. Manuel L. Isquierdo over an incident in which a student was turned over by a school resource officer to Border Patrol over his immigration status.  Again, data from the Justice Policy Center shows that, "Even when controlling for school poverty, schools with an SRO had nearly five times the rate of arrests for disorderly conduct as schools without an SRO." SROs also pose a safety risk to students. In Tempe in February, a SRO accidentally tased a eight grader when teaching a class on bullying.

Flooding Arizona schools with cops is obviously seen as uncontroversial among media types, as not one single article I could find had even a solitary voice of dissent on the matter. More cops in schools, in the age of school shooting paranoia, is viewed as a universal good, just like zero tolerance policies were during a previous wave of school violence fears. Meanwhile, the admittedly offensive and reactionary internet comments by Superintendent Huppenthal have created a national media firestorm.

While Huppenthal's racism is a serious issue, and certainly his attacks on ethnic studies were clearly racist, banning books in school doesn't prevent students from reading them. Ideally, students do most of their reading outside of class. Libraries exist, the internet exists. Huppenthal running the schools is certainly a problem, but the presence of police in those schools is a direct every day force for institutionalized racism with real, lifelong consequences for students. The silence that has greeted this expansion of the police state is telling.