Open SeasonA post-election peace march got seriously hassled by The Man when Tucson Police Department officers opened fire upon marchers with less-than-lethal pepper balls last Wednesday, Nov. 3.
The activists, who were with lefty groups including Food Not Bombs, the Dry River Collective, Refuse & Resist and the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade (which sounds kinda like a subversive punk band, doesn't it?), planned to march from De Anza Park to the downtown federal building.
The trouble started when some marchers stepped off the sidewalk and onto Fourth Avenue, triggering a swift reaction by the police.
Or, as a e-mail from the protestors put it, "The cops went ape-shit on hundreds of peaceful protestors."
TPD spokesman Sgt. Marco Borboa said that officers first attempted to arrest a few marchers who refused orders to return to the sidewalk because they were obstructing traffic. When marchers interfered with officers who were trying to make arrests, the police fired pepper balls at two protestors and later used pepper spray on a third.
The peace activists' e-mail called for supporters to gather outside Tucson Police Department headquarters on Stone Avenue the day after the march "to protest this latest increase in police state bullshit. It is essential for all who are opposed to the Bush agenda of increasing domestic repression to stand in solidarity with those who have raised their voices."
Added the e-mail, in somewhat heated rhetoric: "This was a grotesque display of police state tactics, one which was hardly coincidental, given that it came right after the re-election of the fascist psychopathic moron Bush."
Borboa said five activists were arrested, and no formal complaints had been filed about the police department's actions.
TPD Assistant Chief Roberto Villaseñor said protestors "were putting out a lot of misinformation" and "failed to acknowledge the individuals who were arrested were showing aggressive behavior."
Bad-Boy CharmHey, ladies! A sharp-eyed reader alerted us to the fact that Dr. Bradley Schwartz, now facing charges of hiring a hitman last month to kill his former medical partner, Dr. Brian Stidham, is still on the market. Schwartz's profile can be seen at Jdate.com, a Jewish matchmaking Web site.
Schwartz, who was appointed publicly funded counsel last week, says in his profile that he's "very fun loving and would like to meet someone who is similar."
Schwartz also notes that "Nothing slows me down!"--except, perhaps, a $2 million bond that keeps a guy behind bars at Pima County Jail.
Seeking CoverAfter an outstanding plate of tacos at El Guerro Canelo, The Range traveled south on Interstate 19 to the Desert Diamond Casino on Friday night for the semi-finals of the Official Tucson and Pima County Karaoke Championships, where we were absolutely dazzled by Rodney Glassman's rendition of Barry Manilow's classic "Copa Cabana." Glassman, an aide to Congressman Raúl Grijalva, so hammed it up during his performance on the stage of the Diamond Center that even Republican City Councilwoman Kathleen Dunbar, who was among the contest judges, admitted she had to give him 100 points.
Samantha Mowbray was the first-place champ the following night, capturing $2,500 and a Caribbean getaway. Second prize, a weekend in Vegas and $500, went to Louria Matlock, while Leslie Mejia came in third, winning dinner for two and and a one-night stay at the rustic Hacienda del Sol.
The karaoke championship was a fund-raiser for the Beacon Group, which helps provide employment for individuals with mental and physical disabilities.
More Big WinnersThe UA football team finally went up against a squad that sucks even worse than it does, defeating the Washington Huskies 23-13. The Cats snapped a seven-game conference losing streak and won its second game this season.
The following day, the UA men's basketball team made their debut in a 110-78 exhibition squashing of Team Georgia, with senior Channing Frye scoring 23 points. The Associated Press picked the Cats as No. 10 in the nation earlier this week.
In other sports news, the Arizona Diamondbacks fired general manager Wally Backman four days after announcing his hiring, denying Diamondbacks fans what would have undoubtedly been an entertaining, if brief, stint. The dismissal came after the media uncovered that Backman, a onetime second baseman with the Mets, had a colorful history of run-ins with the law over wife abuse and drunken driving.