Friday, March 21, 2014

Doral Police Deny Access To Congressman Balart's Office And Arrest Medina

Security at Congressman Balart's Florida office were allowing several immigration rights activists to enter and deliver a letter to Balart, but Doral Police interfered and prevented the delivery by arresting Medina.

By H. Nelson Goodson
March 21, 2014

Doral, Florida - On Friday, a Doral police officer arrested Eloseo Medina, the former secretary and treasurer for the SEIU after asking him to move from the entrance of U.S. Representative Mario Díaz Balart's Florida office. According to Lizzette Escobedo, the national communications director for Fast for Families says, security officers at Belart's office were allowing several members of the national tour of Fast for Families to enter the office to simply deliver a letter to Congressman Belart's staff, who supports immigration reform, when Doral police arrived and interfered and prevented the delivery by arresting Medina. Medina was booked at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. The arrest was not a planned civil disobedience act, but caught the Fast for Families tour members by surprised. Police were called to remove Balart's constituents and members from the Fast for Families tours from the property. 
Doral Police Chief Richard Blom has not released a statement about what led to Medina's arrest on Friday and why Congressman Balart's constituents, who are city, state and federal tax payers are denied access to his district office by Doral police officers.
An investigation targeting the Doral Police Department actions is being called to look into the legality of denying access to peaceful constituents at Congressman Balart's office.
The Fast for Families tour was initiated in California and have been visiting and stopping at Congressional members offices at different states to deliver letters asking for immigration reform. Congress is in recess. The tour is expected to end in Washington, D.C. on April 9th.
In a press release, the Fast for Families organization wrote, "Following a morning meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Joe Garcia in Miami, "Fast for Families Across America" leaders attempted to deliver a letter to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart's Congressional Office calling on the U.S House of Representatives to bring immigration reform to a vote in 2014. Advocates, including members of the Florida Immigrant Coalition and constituents, were attempting to peacefully deliver the letter to Rep. Diaz-Balart's office when several police officers arrived on site and instructed constituents and fellow immigration reform supporters to immediately leave the property.  While turning away to leave the property, Doral Police officers arrested Eliseo Medina, former Secretary-Treasurer of SEIU and "Fast for Families" leader."
Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition said, "We do not understand why community members, including constituents, are not allowed to visit the office of a Member of Congress, especially when he is considered one of our champions for immigration reform."

Medina, a Fast for Family member arrested for trying to enter Congressman Mario Díaz Balart's office. Arrest video link:  Doral police arrest video

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