Phoenix police discover presence of refugee contractors in wake of murder of Burmese refugees
Posted by Ann Corcoran on June 29, 2013
First I came across a story about how the police in Phoenix, AZ had gotten together with refugee resettlement contractors to find ways to communicate better with the city’s mushrooming multi-ethnic refugee population, and that’s how I learned about how two Burmese refugees were murdered with kitchen knives as they confronted what appears to have been a gang of Hispanics. (Ah, the joys of multiculturalism!)
Here is the get-together story. I am amazed that at a preferred refugee resettlement city like Phoenix police are just now learning about the resettlement agencies that must have been working there for decades. It further confirms to me that in many parts of the US there is virtually no consultation and communication between the myriad government agencies interfacing with large new non-English speaking populations in target cities.
Arizona is the sixth largest US resettlement state, click here. (18,415 went to Arizona in under 6 years!)
From the Arizona Republic:
Tuoy-Giel, the president of the South Sudanese Community Association of Arizona, leaders of other refugee groups, resettlement organizations and Phoenix police met Thursday in an effort to enhance communication and partnerships between refugees and police.
Detective Luis Samudio said he organized the meet-and-greet hoping officers will learn more about how to better serve a growing refugee population. About 2,500 refugees come to metropolitan Phoenix each year, officials said. [Readers: that is a huge number for a city to absorb each year.—ed]
Police were caught “by surprise” by the language barrier when two Burmese refugees were recently murdered, Samudio said. The police are calling the double homicide at a central Phoenix apartment complex a possible hate crime.
The refugee population is scattered throughout Phoenix with the majority located in three of the department’s eight precincts—Cactus, Mountain View and Central City, Samudio said.
Representatives from the four resettlement organizations in Phoenix gave a brief overview of the refugee community and tips on how to help them. [Learn more here about Arizona refugee resettlement—ed]
Officers also can use the resettlement organizations as a resource as they have staff members who speak different languages and have translators on-call, she said ( Donna Buckles of Refugee Focus, formerly Lutheran Social Services.)
That story led me to the story (also at the Arizona Republic) about the latest arrests (three days ago) in the murder of the two refugees in April.
Police have arrested the remaining three people suspected of fatally stabbing two Burmese refugees in Phoenix two months ago, but they continue to hunt for the woman who drove the three to Nogales, Mexico, to escape prosecution, officials said.
Investigators arrested Cassandra Devore, 18, Daniela Stone, 17, and her brother Michael Stone, 16, in Mexico on June 19, according to police. The two juveniles are being charged as adults, according to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Ofice. Two others were arrested May 7.
The arrests last week brought an end to a manhunt that started in central Phoenix in late April in a murder case that prosecutors are considering as a possible hate crime.
On April 28, a group of three males and two females were suspected of chasing three Burmese refugees, a 21-year-old man and two 16-year-old boys, with knives and metal pipes near 29th Avenue and Camelback Road, court records showed.
Earlier two males from the group had confronted the refugees and taunted them with “derogatory names,” documents say.
The Burmese refugees ran back to the Serrano Village Apartments near 28th Avenue and Camelback Road to a unit where a wake was being held and told those inside that a group with knives was chasing them, police records showed.
Ker Reh, 54, and Kay Reh, 24, stepped outside to talk to the group, which was trying to force its way into the apartment, according to police documents.
Police said they believe the group used “large kitchen-type knives” to stab the Ker Reh and Kay Rey to death. The group then fled the scene.
Hispanic mom drove her kids to Mexico to escape the police (police are still looking for her!):
Police on May 7 arrested Johnny Romero, 22, on suspicion of second-degree murder and Jonathan Tineo, 16, on suspicion of aggravated assault. Tineo also is being charged as an adult, according to Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
Romero’s wife told police that Lovonne De La Luz Ruiz, 40, the mother of Daniela and Michael Stone, drove her children and Devore to Nogales the day after the incident to avoid arrest, according to records.
Possible hate crime:
Cobb said prosecutors can present to a jury that the defendants committed the crime out of malice toward a victim because of the victim’s identity such as race, color, religion or sexual orientation.
This is not new to us. Tensions run high in rough multicultural neighborhoods where refugees are usually dropped off by contractors believing that the now mythical American melting pot will work its magic. The melting pot is broken because the numbers are too high!
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