Saturday, May 05, 2007

Police arrest Minutemen terrorist

Tyler Joseph Froatz for weapons arsenal

Statement from Sarah Sloan,
National Staff Coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition

On Tuesday, May 1, at approximately 1:00 pm, I was assaulted by Tyler Joseph Froatz. The assault took place in Malcolm X Park during set up for the May Day Immigrant Rights Rally. Mr. Froatz was arrested following the assault.

Tyler Joseph Froatz is a member of the Minutemen. A.N.S.W.E.R. and others have been protesting the Minutemen nationwide - in Los Angeles, at Columbia University in NYC, at Georgetown University in Washington DC, and elsewhere.

The Minutemen are not simply another conservative organization with xenophobic and racist ideas. They are an armed vigilante organization. Their members include many people with longstanding ties to white supremacist and terrorist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party. Their armed border patrols are designed to popularize and sanctify armed intimidation against immigrants.

On Tuesday, May 1, local Minutemen member Tyler Joseph Froatz was arrested at the immigrant rights rally following his unprovoked, violent assault. Mr. Froatz was found to be in possession of two knives one of them with a 12-inch blade - a flare gun and a stun gun. In a subsequent search of his vehicle and apartment, police found what is reported to be a large arsenal of rifles, handguns, ammunition, swords, bows, arrows, machetes, a grenade and grenade launcher. Mr. Froatz also had literature and graphic material depicting violent assaults against immigrants, including pregnant women and children.

Mr. Froatz is known to the media for his anti-immigrant positions. He was quoted in the May 3, 2006, Washington Times article that covered last year’s May Day protests: “Rally counterprotester Tyler Froatz, a member of the Herndon Minutemen, an illegal-entry watchdog group, agreed. ‘These protests are great for us and all other legal Americans because polls show that these protests only serve to alienate the community,’ said Mr. Froatz, 22.”

The Herndon Minutemen have spearheaded a vicious campaign of attacks on day laborers in Northern Virginia. Some day laborers have been arrested and deported. The Minutemen and government have functioned with the same objective of depriving immigrant workers of their livelihood. The government has carried out raids across the country tearing parents from their young children, all just to punish and terrorize people who are working to feed their families.

The Minutemen are just a tip of a racist and xenophobic iceberg. The Minutemen’s reputation has been sanitized as they are given ample coverage on Fox News, CNN’s Lou Dobbs and other mainstream media outlets.

When the Minutemen were brought to the Columbia University campus by the Republican Party, they were met by a peaceful protest organized by Latino, African American and other student groups. When the students carried out a peaceful protest against the presence of armed vigilantes they were met with Minutemen violence and assault. Fox News, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others condemned the protesting students not the brutal Minuteman thugs. Columbia obeyed the right wing pressure and punished the students, meting out explicitly racist discipline that was most severe to the Latino student activists.

The Minutemen and their racist and right-wing supporters openly promote armed vigilantism. The arrest of Mr. Froatz after his violent assault on an A.N.S.W.E.R. organizer proves once again that Minutemen spokespersons and organizers not only preach the rhetoric of anti-immigrant violence but they are armed to the teeth.

The government has worked to support these organized vigilantes. Last July, LAPD arrested and violently attacked A.N.S.W.E.R. organizers who were taking pictures of the Minutemen during a peaceful protest. Last Tuesday, May 1, the Los Angeles Police Department carried out a coordinated, violent assault on immigrant families, including children, who had participated in the May 1 march demanding comprehensive immigrant reform.

The Minutemen represent a racist poison, but all of those in the government and mainstream media who have helped create an anti-immigrant hysteria in the country are responsible too.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and all other progressive organizations who mobilized on May 1 and earlier will continue to campaign for immigrant rights and full legalization. We will expose the Minutemen and the forces of racism and bigotry, and we will continue to march with millions of other people around the country.

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
National Office in Washington DC: 202-544-3389
New York City: 212-694-8720
Los Angeles: 213-251-1025
San Francisco: 415-821-6545
Chicago: 773-463-0311

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