Two Rights Groups Sue Over Woman's Arrest

November 11, 2009|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Don.markus@baltsun.com

Two civil rights organizations are suing on behalf of a Frederick County woman who says she arrested for no reason and jailed for more than a month last year before being released. New York-based Latinojustice PRLDEF and Casa de Maryland are alleging immigration enforcement violations by the Frederick County Sheriff's Department.

In the federal lawsuit, Roxana Orellano Santos said that she was eating lunch by herself on a grassy area in Frederick on Oct. 7, 2008, when two deputies asked for identification. According to her lawyers, Orellano Santos provided a national identification card.

After standing with the officers for about 15 minutes, she tried to leave but was restrained and eventually handcuffed, the suit says. She was held until Nov. 11, 2008, the suit says. At the time of her release, there had been no incident or arrest report filed, though a deputy had accused Orellano Santos of taking part in "unlawful activity."

Jose Perez, Orellano Santos' attorney, said the arrest violated an agreement that permits police to question the immigration status of people who have been arrested for other offenses.

A spokeswoman for Sheriff Charles Jenkins, who was among those named in the suit, said he had not seen it and could not comment.

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