A Miami-Dade Police officer is accused of arresting a Guatemalan man on trumped up charges and calling him a "fucking immigrant" after asking where the man was from. Cases like this sure don't help those in favor of bringing Arizona-style immigration laws to Florida and claim that they wouldn't lead to more cases of ethnic profiling.
Mateo Gaspar, a 46-year-old mechanic who works in Homestead, was pulled over by a Miami-Dade officer on June 16, The Miami Herald reported. The officer asked Gaspar if he had a drivers license. Gaspar did. The officer then asked him for vehicle registration and proof of insurance. The car Gaspar was driving was not his, and he wasn't sure if the car had those papers.
The officer than asked Gaspar where he was from. He told the officer he was from Guatemala. The officer allegedly then called Gaspar a "fucking immigrant."
The officer then arrested Gaspar after he claimed that the car had been reported stolen.
A judge ultimately dropped the case after police couldn't prove that the car was stolen. The Miami-Dade Police Department cannot investigate the alleged incident until Gaspar officially files a complaint. Gaspar apparently filed the complaint on Tuesday.
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Activists claim that this is just the latest incident of ethnic profiling in Miami-Dade.
"There has definitely been an increase in racial profiling of Latinos by the Miami-Dade Police Department," Jonathan Fried, executive director of WeCount!, tells The Herald. "We wonder if it is the result of racist police officers and the anti-immigrant climate, or a deliberate policy shift to target Latino immigrants with brown skin and indigenous racial characteristics."
The issue is especially important as some in the state are still pushing to pass Arizona-style immigration laws, a campaign promise of Governor Rick Scott.