A California woman whose barking dogs got her on immigration agents’ radar after neighbors complained is no longer in danger of deportation, said the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
Bakersfield police arrested Ruth Montaño, who is in the United States unlawfully, according to LA Weekly, after neighbors complained that her dog were barking to the point of being a nuisance.
Police asked Montaño about her immigration status, according to published reports, and held her for a week so that immigration officials could talk to her.
Montaño, and the ACLU, which represented her in her fight against deportation, alleged that bigotry motivated what they characterize as the overreaction of police.
They claim that police exaggerated Montaño complaints about handcuffs being too tight and charged her with resisting arrest.
An ACLU statement regarding the dropping of deportation proceedings against the Mexican national said: “The ACLU of Southern California applauds [immigration officials] for taking swift action to correct its mistakes, as Ruth never should have placed in deportation proceedings in the first place.”
Montaño, 39, told Fox News Latino earlier this year that she stepped out of her Bakersfield home on New Year’s Eve to buy ingredients for a dinner she was planning. She said she returned to her trailer to find six police cars and close to 10 police officers, two who she claims harassed her. The officers told Montaño her two small dogs – a Chihuahua and a poodle – were disturbing the neighbors.
“I told them that we had not done anything wrong,” Montaño said.
She claimed the officers were shouting slurs at her and threw her against a police car in front of her three children.
Montaño was charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting arrest and one infraction of maintaining an animal that makes excessive noise. Police said she became agitated when they confronted her and she kicked a police officer.
She denied the allegations.
Her lawyer, Jennie Pasquarella, said because there was a complaint about animals, animal control should have showed up at her property – not uniformed officers. She alleges that Montaño was singled out because of her illegal status.
“There is no other explanation in my mind as to why the sheriff would reply so aggressively,” she told Fox News Latino.
Elizabeth Llorente can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on https://twitter.com/Liz_Llorente