cleared police brutality against NRI Parikh
Edison, New Jersey, ASug. 09, 2006
Mayor of Edison, New Jersey, Jun Choi ruled that
Michael Dotro acted purely in self-defence when he arrested NRI
Rajnikant Parikh on July 4, 2006. He said that there is no charge
of any wrongdoing following an investigation.
Mayor Jun Choi and Police Chief George Mieczkowski
repeatedly said they weren't aware that immigration agents were
planning to arrest the 30-year old liquor store cashier at the
"I can tell you there is no conspiracy,"
Choi said. "That's be cause the federal government did not
give us prior notice of that ar rest or the charges."
Tthe U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency
said the ar rest was made with the knowledge and assistance of
"We closely cooperated with the department,"
said ICE spokeswoman Jamie Zuieback. "As we al ways do. Our
relationships with local police departments are valuable."
Mieczkowski, though, denied the police department
was involved in the arrest.
"We had over 100 people out there," he
said. "Do you think we would plan to escalate the situation?"
Zuieback said ICE does not reveal where it gets
information on illegal immigrants.
"We act on leads, and we receive information
from a variety of sources," she said.
NRI community holds rally, charging police brutality- one arrested
EDISON, Aug. 03, 2006
NRI Rajnikant Parikh, 30
in New Jersey has been arrested for taking part in
a rally to demand the suspension of a police officer who he claimed
had assaulted him at a fireworks display to mark American Independence
Day. In this function nearly 800 NRIs had gathered.
Rajnikant was among the 75 protestors in front of the township
hall in Edison on Wednesday. As Parikh was speaking at the demonstration,
two agents of the US immigration department took him for questioning
apparently to establish his legal status in the country.
Officials of the immigration department said there was deportation
order against Parikh since 2005."My friend didn't do anything
wrong," said Dev Patel, who bailed Parikh out of jail the night
he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault of a police
officer, resisting arrest, rioting and failure to disperse. "I'm
concerned about my friend. He's innocent."
During the rally outside township hall, a group of
about 60 Asian-Indian residents were met by a counter-protest of
40 mostly white residents defending the police department
Sweating under the afternoon sun, the competing protesters
hurled accusations at one another.
"How many of you are illegals? You must've slid under the
border to come here!" yelled LaVonica Ray, who stood with her
friends in the rally for the police department. "You're all
cockroaches! Go home!"
Angry Indians, holding up signs declaring Indians are nonviolent,
loudly chanted, "We want justice!"
"See, 100 percent they are racist, look at the words they
are using," said Tony Patel, an Edison resident and construction
company owner. Patel pointed to a placard placed across the street
that read, "Act like animals, and you will be treated like
"We are not bloody animals!" Patel said, shaking
Mayor Jun Choi and Chief of Police George Mieczkowski
addressed the media later in the evening, thanking the patrolmen
who provided security for the rally. "In an ironic situation,
the Edison Police Department provided security for (the protesters')
freedom of speech," Choi said. "We welcome diversity .
. . but along with it, mutual respect and a rule of law."
When asked why he did not address the group of protesters, Choi
said he was off-site, and meeting with a group demanding the "suspension
and jailing" of an Edison police officer was not an effective
use of his time.
"This group had a series of demands when there is no evidence
(against the police officer) . . . why should I be there?"
Choi said. "When the results of the investigation (into the
July 4 incident) are clear, we will take action."
Community activist Pradip "Peter" Khothari, who planned
the rally, called the timing of Parikh's detention yesterday inappropriate.
"They should not have selected this place," said Khothari,
who also demanded the U.S. Attorney's Office probe the July 4 incident.
"We are not saying all officers are bad or tainted, but we
continue to ask for justice."
Parikh's wife, Julie Patel, said she wants the charges against
her husband dropped and for officials to remove Dotro from the police
Mayor Jun Choi said at a July 13 press conference the investigation
would be completed in three weeks.
"He didn't say it would be over three weeks after the incident,"
said Choi spokesman Jerry Barca.
Kothari, who is president of the Indo-American Cultural Society
in Iselin and the owner of a travel agency there, told area newspapers
the rally was being planned to protest the delay in the investigation.
But Kothari said he didn't realize the three weeks would be counted
from July 13, not July Fourth.
Kothari said that the protest is now being planned simply as a "reminder"
that they are waiting for the investigation's conclusion.