Thursday, February 28, 2008

ICE and the far right

-- by Dave

The infiltration of the ranks of law-enforcement officers with closet members of racist hate groups and other far-right extremists is always a cause for concern, largely because the likelihood of them abusing their position of authority on behalf of an extremist agenda is great.

The last thing any public law agency wants is to allow the public to have any reason to believe it is not enforcing the law fairly, even-handedly, and equitably. That's why membership in such groups is grounds for immediate disqualification.

It's especially acute when Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- an agency involved in the handling of millions of nonwhite immigrants -- is involved.

XicanoPowr today brings us the story of an ICE agent who died under very peculiar circumstances -- and with a roomful of evidence suggesting he was involved with white-supremacist hate groups.

It all began when deputies in Grand Prairie, Texas, went to his apartment -- along with some fellow ICE officers -- to check on his well-being:
Grand Prairie police said they evacuated parts of an apartment complex after a man started shooting through the walls overnight.

Police said they went to the Windridge Apartments in the 2300 block of Avenue H at about 7 p.m. Tuesday to check Mark Juvette, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who hadn’t been to work in a few days.

Officers knocked and then tried to get in with help from management when Juvette didn’t answer the door. Police said Juvette then started shooting at the officers through the door.

Police said Juvette started shooting randomly from inside his apartment. Police said they evacuated the area when he began firing into his neighbors’ apartments.

“You don’t see this every day in Grand Prairie,” witness Emanuel Valdez-Pino said.

After several hours, police said they fired tear gas into the apartment. When they went in, they said they found that Juvette had killed himself.

And then, when they went inside:
Officers processing the scene said they found a large canvas suitcase full of pornographic magazines in the bedroom and a red flag with a black swastika hung in a closet with a few older style military jackets.

They recovered a shotgun, semiautomatic rifle, a revolver, two semiautomatic pistols and other weapons from the home, according to a police report.

There were other materials as well, accompanied by the usual caveat in these cases:
Officers who searched the home found books about Adolf Hitler, along with a red flag with a black swastika hung in a closet, but police said they had no indication, including from one of his close work partners, that Mr. Juvette was involved in any racist groups.

"We're not accusing this guy or saying that he was involved with any skinhead or Nazi organization or anything like that," Detective Brimmer said. "He could have been a memorabilia collector. A lot of people collect stuff from World War II and they specialize in German things."

Well, someone needs to find out whether he was involved or not, and to what extent he compromised ICE operations in Texas if he did.

I know it will be the preference of many of his colleagues to sweep this under the rug. For the public's sake, we need not to.

As XicanoPowr says:
One does have to wonder how many of World War II memorabilia collector’s have a red flag with a black swastika hanging in their closet? Or a suitcase full of pornographic magazines? Or a whole arsenal? Just because he was not involved in a known white supremacists groups mean, he rejects their views.

It is, in fact, most likely that he was involved on some level, if merely as a closeted -- literally -- subscriber to Nazi beliefs. It will be worth determining if this ideology was related to his bizarre behavior in his final hours, and if it affected his behavior as an officer at all.

Most of all, the public deserves to know the truth -- and whether cases like this are more common than we know.

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