The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).





Of Bradley County Tn.


SEPTEMBER  2008

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

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Is Cleveland, A Sanctuary City?
Citizen asks whether Bradley County is
becoming a safe haven for illegal immigrants.

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by Tonya Brantley
Managing Editor

Illegal immigration is a problem not just in Cleveland and Bradley County, but all over the United States. However many feel that Cleveland, TN has become a sanctuary city where illegal aliens can commit crimes without fear of prosecution. One concerned Bradley county citizen is DiAnna Stanich. She has come before the county commission and the city council several times to voice her concerns.

Most recently she addressed the city council on August 25th, not only to once again voice her concerns but seeking answers in regards to a letter she wrote to the Cleveland police department on July 23, 2008.

In the letter she explains that harassment charges were brought against her in early March 2008.  Stanich observed an illegal alien (according to the police report) selling food to workers out of the back of her truck in the new Target shopping center parking lot. She questioned the woman about her business license, a health department permit, and other identification. When the woman couldn't provide the information, Ms. Stanich informed her she was going to call the police.

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The woman then sped away and Ms. Stanich followed her to an apartment building. The woman called the police and the officers asked Stanich to leave and that they would discuss her concerns with the woman. The officers took no personal information from Stanich.

The woman admitted to the two officers of being an illegal alien with no driver's license, no social security number and conducting business without a license or health permit. Plus the vehicle she was driving was registered to her even though she was an illegal alien. The officer who took the report stated that because he did not observe her driving any vehicle no charges were filed and stated she is an illegal alien but he has no authority in that area.

Stanich then went to the City of Cleveland Police Department to explain what she had observed and asked when a police report would be filed. They informed her it would be the next day. The following day she was told that under the discretion of the police officers, no report would be filed. So, on March 6, 2008 she filed a dereliction of duty complaint against the officers.

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Stanich said she also discovered that harassment charges were filed against her by a Hispanic male who works at Caniceria #9. According to the police report, he stated that Ms. Stanich had been harassing him and his customers by asking them for their green cards and other identification and threatening to have them deported. The officer who took the report found out it was Ms. Stanich through another officer. This harassment charge was filed the same day she filed a formal complaint against the two City of Cleveland police officers. She is still waiting the outcome of her complaint against these two officers.

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At the council meeting Mayor Tom Rowland asked that council members not comment on the letter from Stanich concerning the charges against her because it would be improper to discuss those in a public forum. However, the complaints against Stanich were closed before the meeting took place. According to a statement from Steve Hatchett of the DA's office, "As of April 9, 2008, I'm clearing (the cases against DiAnna Stanich) by non prosecution administrative clearance due to the DA's office not wishing to prosecute." Also, no warrants were ever issued on DiAnna Stanich.

On the two police reports filed against her, one didn't include her personal information, but the second had full information on it including her social security and driver's license number. On the information that went to the DA her personal information was redacted. There was no consistency and she felt threatened by possible retaliation. She asked Mayor Rowland for consistency. City manager Janice Casteel said that the Cleveland Police Department is implementing a policy where they will attempt to redact personal information. Rowland said, "We'll see if it can be done."

The People News
PO Box 3921
Cleveland TN. 37320
(423) 559-2150  Fax 559-1044

Pete Edwards, Editor - Publisher
Tonya Brantley, Managing Editor

Copyright 2008 (All rights reserved)


Stanich also asked during the August 25th City Council meeting if applications for the free CAP, SCAAP and 287g illegal immigration control programs have been filled out by the chief or sheriff on behalf of the concerned citizens of Cleveland and Bradley County. Chief Wes Snyder said no application has been made. We contacted Chief Snyder to ask why. He said that most of the departments who apply for 287g have corrections facilities and since his department does not, he didn't apply. He did inform us that ICE agent Brenda Dixon with immigration has an office at his department.

We followed up with Sheriff Tim Gobble to get his response. He said, "Chief Deputy Bill Dyer has repeatedly contacted ICE, their headquarters, and their supervisory office down in Louisiana both online and by correspondence and we've even had meetings with the local congressional delegations, Senator's office and we have not been able to apply for 287g. We would love to be a part of it if they would accept us into the program. We keep getting the absolute run around on this program from the federal government. Illegal immigration is a federal government problem." He went on to say, "The problem is not with local governments, its not with state governments, it is with the federal government. And the federal government needs to handle the problem." According to Gobble, his department has been told that there is no option at this point to get into 287g, but they won't send his department a letter saying that.

Chief Deputy Bill Dyer said the sheriff's department has applied several times and has yet to get a response. According to Dyer, "If a suspected illegal is arrested and it is found that they have a felony on their record, immigration will come pick them up. If its a misdemeanor, they make us turn them back loose. The problem with immigration is that its a federal problem, they need to secure our borders then they need to give us the authority to enforce immigration, which is what we are trying to do through 287g if they'd just talk to us."
Ms. Stanich requested that Bradley County and the City of Cleveland business license applications have social security numbers, a question on the form asking if the applicant(s) are in the country legally and to show proof that can be validated by the E-Verify system, SAVE program, and the Federal I-9 Employment Verification Form.

Mayor Rowland referred her request to Chief Snyder for him to come back with a recommendation on whether he feels these are programs his department should adopt. She also requested to immediately start having the City of Cleveland Code Enforcement enforce the housing ordinance of no more than four unrelated people living in a home.

When asked if he feels like illegal aliens have a right to live and work in Cleveland and Bradley County, Mayor Tom Rowland told The People News,  "I feel like if they are illegal, they do not have a right. We welcome immigration if its legal immigration. The only problem we have, its difficult for us on a local level to enforce it. We're frustrated too, because it's really a federal issue. And I know that the police department and the sheriff's department both are taxed trying to find a solution. And the only thing we can do is when we arrest a person, if it appears that they are illegal we have to call immigration and sometimes they may be slow to respond, but many times they're not. They do respond. It's an issue all across the country and it's an issue here as well. I just want to emphasize we welcome immigration and legal immigrants. But sometimes we're just frustrated and I just don't think Ms. Stanich understands really. We feel what she's saying, but our hands are tied."
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