Tyranny of silence
I live outside Wilsonville in the country. On the morning of Feb. 24 I was on my way to a regular appointment. As I pulled into the parking lot around 9:45 a.m. I noticed five large white men standing around a car, and I passed, I saw the small Hispanic man they were surrounding, who was leaning against the car, hands cuffed. I parked the car and immediately began shouting for their attention as they walked toward four different cars. "Stop, can I see identification, stop, who are you!" I shouted. They looked right at me and continued getting in their cars. Here is the point of my complaint.
I did not not see any identification marking who they were, as you see ICE printed on the shirts of the men you see in the news feeds. These men in no way identified themselves by what they were wearing, neither were their cars marked. I got over there as fast as a 75-year-old somewhat disabled woman could, and got between the two closest cars, up near the front of the cars. I again asked for identification as I felt I had a right to do as an American citizen. Their windows were so dark I could not see who was inside, but after a few seconds (I was afraid to knock on the window) they all pulled away on cue.
I am not writing this letter so much on behalf of the person who was arrested because I do not know the facts of his story. However, his boss later told me that he had worked there two years and had a Green Card. I cannot speak to the man's position, but I can speak to the inappropriate way the arrest was made. The only person who even might have given proof he was a policeman was a man who had a sweatshirt on with "police" in small letters on the back.
The entire experience shook me to my core, and all I could feel was helplessness and sadness. I called the Wilsonville Police and they told me that this is not the manner in which they did their arrests, and that they always would speak to a citizen if asked for identification. They told me to call Immigration. I am asking that we all be more vigilant when we see these kinds of things, and at least to attempt to assert our rights as citizens.
"Tyranny happens when good people keep silent."
Barbara Zurstadt is a city of Wilsonville resident.