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DecisionOfOASCRUSDAreCivilRightsComplaintREDACTEDforRelease

DecisionOfOASCRUSDAreCivilRightsComplaintREDACTEDforRelease

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Published by Matt Driscoll

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Published by: Matt Driscoll on May 31, 2012
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UnitedSlatea
Departmentof
AgdcuJh.lre
Qffloocfthe
ASBlstantSecretary
fDrClVllRlghts
1400Ir'id8P_B'I1dance
AvenueSW
Washington,DC
20260
USDA
-
UNITEDSTATESDEPARTMENTOFAGRICULTUREOfficeoftheAssistantSecretaryforCivilRights
)
)
)
)
)Program
Complaint
No.:
FS-11-5171
)
,
)
)
)
v
Thomas1Vilsack
Secretary
DepartmentofAgriculture
Agency
_FinalAgencyDecision
I,
.n~rodu-ctio_n
Inaccordance
with7C.F.R.
Part
lSd,thisis
thefinal
determination.
of
theUnitedStatesDepartment
of
Agriculture
(USnA)ott
this
corn
plaint.
II.hSllcPresented
Whether
ForestService(FS)
officials
discriminated
againstComplainantonthe
basis
of
herrace(Latina),andnationalorigin
(Guatehlalart)whehth-ey~
1.$ubjec
t
ed,
the
Complainantto
an
immigratior;enforcementaction
on
the
basis.of
her
Nice
andnatiQnal
originwiththe
pretext
thatthe
official
contacted
the
U.S.
BorderPatrol.(BP)
for
assistance;and
2.Failed
to
providethecomplainant,anLEPindividual,
withmeaningful
accessto
W1.FS
progra,m
orservice.
III.
ProceduralHistory
DateofAlleged
Discrimination:
DateComplaintFiled:DateofInvestigation:
May14,2011July27,2011
August
21-26,2011December12
-15,2011
January15,20]2
ateofRepott:
1
ANeaUALOPPOFITUNITYEMPLOYE_FI
 
IV.Background
ComplainantisaresidentofForks,Washington.Untiltheincident,shelivedtherewithherminorchildren,aswellasherlongtimemalepartner(MP),Both
Complainant
andMPmadetheirlivingharvesting'
salal,
aplantthatgrowsabun4antlyinthePacificNorthwest
RegionofWashington,
onbothstateandprivatelands,and.intheOlympicNationalForest(ONF).(ReportofInvestigation
(RO!),
Exhibit6,Tab
K,p.Z).
To.pick
salal
in
ONP,
picketsmustpurchasea
permltfrom
FS..Thepermitscost
$15P,
and
allowpickerstoharvest
salal
incertainregions,dependingonthepennit.Toobtain
apermit,
harvestersneed
to
presenta
Valid.U.S.
Government
issuedphoto
IV.
(See
httn:II~w.f~.\!sda;~Q:£ld~.ru1tlllY.ml)ic/n~\ys.event~t?dd=STELPRDB5327177)'..,OnMarch14,2011,Complainant
and
MPwereharvesting
salal
inONF.Atsomepoint.Complainant
andMpwere
'Stopped
by
a
Forest
ServiceOfficer
(FSO)
forthepurpose
of'perforrninga
permit
checkforthe
salal
theyhadharvested,BothComplainantand'FSdisputemanyof
thecireumstencessurroundingthe
decisiontostopComplainant'scat,andPSO'sactionsduringthestop.Therefore,eachside'Sversion
of
thespecificfacts
win
bediscussedbelow.
It
is
undisputedthat.PSOapproached
Complainant's
caronthepassengerside)andrequestedphotoidentificationfromMP;
whowasdriving
the
cat.
MP
provided
FSO
withatleastoneforthofidentificationissuedfromtheMexican'govemment.aswellasaWashingtonState-issueddriver'Slicense.Afterreceivingthesedocuments,FSQl'~tufl1edtohiscar.
At
almostthesametime,
u~r
Agent{BPA)arrivedonthescene.
Theparties
donotdisputethatPSOspecificallycalledBPA,althoughtheydisputewhyBPA
was
called.UponseeingBPA,bothComplainantandMpfledfromtheir
Car
intothewoods.BothFSOandBPApursuedComplainantandMPonfoot.fSOcaughtupwithComplainantafterafewminutes.andphysicallyrestrainedher,hand-cuffedher,andreturned
to
hisvehicleWithher.WhilePSGwasrestrainingComplainant,BPArantiptothem,
and
thencontinued
to
pursue
MP,
At
somepoint,BPAwasabletoseeMP.Thepursuitcontinuedforsometiroe.untllMPattemptedtocrossaswiftlymovingriver.BPAsaw
MP
gounderthewater.BPAdidnotgointothewaterafterMP,becauseshefeltthewaterwastooswiftforhertonavigateitsafely.WhileBPAwasstillsearchingfor
,MP;
anotherBorderPatrolAgent(BPA2)
1
arrivedonthescene.FSObriefedBPA2onthecurrent
1
BPA2istheorigjnalBPagentcalledbyFSO.However,SPAwasclosertothescene,andarrivedfirstafterbeingcontactedbyBPA2,(RO!,Exhibit6,TabM,p,2)
2
 
situation,andBPA2thenwentinthedirectionofBPAtoprovideassistance.SeveralotherBorderPatrolagentsarrivedinthefollowinghours,asdidoneCountyDeputy(CD),attherequestofBP.AlocalPoliceOfficer(PO)alsoarrived.Duringthistime,FSOusedtheinterpretationservicesof~PagentstoquestionComplainantregardingwhereshehadbeen
harvesting
salal,aswellasobtainphotoidentitlcatlon.FSOusedthisinformationtopullrecordsfor
bothComplainantand
MP.
From.
therecord,
itappearsthatBPAwastheBPagentwhoassisted
FSO.
(ROI,Exhibit6;Tab
N,p;
3).Beforethesearchended,FSOtransferredcustodyofComplainanttoBPA,!;U1dgaveComplainant
'a
violationnoticefor"interferingandresistinga.lawenforeementofficer.."Complainantwasthentakenintocustodyby.BPforsuspicionof
immigration
violation.Complainantwasheldforseveraldaysatan
.immigration
facilityinPortAngeles,WAshington.before
being
releasedon
humanitarian
grounds.(ROl,Exhibit
1,p.2)
MP's
bodywaslaterrecoveredfromtheriveronJune
5,2011.
Cotnplainanfs'Allegations
Complqinant:S-
Statements
ColtlplainantstatesthatPSOhaddrivenbyherandMPeatlier
in
thedayonMay
14,2011.
whentheywereexiting
theircar,
Complainantstatesthatneithershe
norMl'
were
harvestingor
carrying
salalat
thattime.LaterOn,ComplainantstatesthatsheandMPdrovepastFSO,andhewastalkingonthephone.FSOthenfollowedComplainantandMPfaraboutfiveminutesbeforepullingthemover,Complainant
states,
Whenwepassedhim,wesawthathewastalkingonthephone.He
should
havestoppedustherebutfollowedusforawhile.
Itseems
likehetimed
it
toget
immigration
there
atthe
sametime.Theycouldhavestoppedusway
intheforest,
whydidhe
wait
solong
to
stopus?Hejust
askedus
forthepermitandIDand
'immigration
showedup.Neitherone
of
usaskedfor
an
interpreter.:(ROI,Exhibit2,p.6)ComplainantstatesthatFSOpulledherandMPoverandapproachedthevehicle.FSOrequestedidentificationandasalalpermitfromComplainantandMP.FSOwasintheprocessofreturningtohiscartochecktheiridentificationwhenBPAarrived.ComplainantstatesthatFSOdidnotmakeanyradiocallsfromthetimethatheapproachedComplainantandMP,untilBPAarrived.'Further,ComplainantstatesthatneithershenorMPeverrequestedinterpretationassistance,andthatwhencommunicatingwithFSO,hespoke
ill
English,whileComplainantandMP3

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