Anti-illegal immigrant group comes to City Hall for raucous protest
(07-30) 12:43 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- About a dozen members of the Minutemen, a group that patrols the U.S.-Mexican border in an effort to keep illegal immigrants out, stood on the steps of San Francisco's City Hall today to decry the city's sanctuary policy and demand that Mayor Gavin Newsom resign.
They waved signs calling Newsom, District Attorney Kamala Harris and William Siffermann, head of the city's Juvenile Probation Department, "accessories to murder" for the city's now-reversed policy of not turning over illegal immigrant youths arrested for felonies to federal authorities for possible deportation.
One Salvadoran immigrant who benefited from the policy, Edwin Ramos, has been charged with three counts of murder for the June 22 shootings of 48-year-old Tony Bologna and his sons Michael, 20, and Matthew, 16. Ramos, now 21, was arrested as a 17-year-old for an assault and an attempted robbery, but city officials did not turn him over to federal immigration authorities.
"We are asking for the resignation of Mayor Gavin Newsom for his endorsement and support of sanctuary city status that led to the horrific slayings of the Bologna family," said Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist.
Hundreds of immigrants rights advocates stood on the sidewalk yelling back at the Minutemen and chanting, "Smash the border, smash the Minutemen!"
Ricardo Avila, a 30-year-old who lives in the Excelsior, pointed out that scores of people are killed in San Francisco every year, and said the Minutemen were unfairly using the Bologna killings to make their point.
"To single out one case is self-serving," Avila said. "People are killed by people, undocumented or not. But they choose a specific case to exploit a family for a cause."
Police Lt. Michael Slade said two people - both on the pro-immigrant side - had been arrested, one for allegedly spitting on a sheriff's deputy and one for throwing an unknown liquid at the City Hall steps. He said both were likely to be released today.
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