US Supreme Court: Rancher Barnett Must Pay $87,000 to Illegal Immigrants

Nyet10/07/2011 12:45:59 am PDT

In November 2004, the Morales family and their friend Emma English, all United States citizens, were assaulted by border vigilante Roger Barnett while they were hunting on state land in southern Arizona. Armed with a semi-automatic military-style assault rifle, Barnett held them at gunpoint, cursed and screamed racial slurs at them, and threatened to kill them.

At the trial court, Barnett was convicted by a jury of his peers and the family was awarded monetary compensation for their damages. Although Barnett claimed that this was a case involving the protection of private property, the court ruled that Barnett’s actions were racially motivated, outrageous, and offensive.

In 2005, MALDEF brought a lawsuit on behalf of 16 plaintiffs to recover damages for injuries inflicted upon them by the Barnetts. The group, including a young teenage girl, were resting near a state highway along the Arizona-Mexico Border when they were accosted by Roger Barnett and his wife, armed and accompanied by a large dog. The Barnetts held the unarmed group of terrified men and women at gunpoint and kicked one of the women as she lay on the ground. In March of 2008, the United States District Court for Arizona denied all of the Barnetts’ motions to dismiss and ordered that the case move forward to trial.

In February 2009, a civil jury found in favor of the women plaintiffs and awarded damages on their claims of assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The case was a victory in favor of the plaintffs who suffered unjustly from Barnett’s extreme and hateful antics.