The Death of Edimar de Araujo

Nobody should die as the result of a traffic stop. But the timeline of events leading to the unfortunate death of Edimar Alves de Araujo while in Federal custody, as assembled from witness testimony and audio/visual evidence provided by the Woonsocket Police and Providence Fire Departments, points to a tragedy that was sudden and unforeseeable, not the result of neglect or cruelty.
Karen Lee Ziner has an update on the investigation into Mr. Araujo’s death in today’s Projo, including pictures taken from surveillance video and recordings of several emergency calls that were made.
Two points worth adding to the Projo’s coverage…
1. The stomach-turning attempts by immigration activists to advance a political agenda using Mr. Araujo’s death make no real sense…

“I think everybody is waiting to see how this tragedy really occurred,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition, a group that demanded answers at the outset.
“At the end of the day, somebody died because they were an undocumented immigrant who was detained,” said Noorani. “Those are the facts that we know.”
From what we know, anyone with Mr. Araujo’s medical condition — citizen or non-citizen — could have suffered the same unfotunate fate, if discovered to be the subject of an outstanding warrant following a traffic stop. Mr Araujo’s immigration status is only relevant to his death while in custody to the extent that the United States (or any society) enforces any system of laws at all.
2. There had been initial reports that the Woonsocket Police department, for unknown but probably not good reasons, refused to provide Mr. Araujo with medication he needed. Here’s what the Boston Globe reported on August 9
Edmar Alves Araujo, 34, of Milford, called his sister to say he had been detained by local police after a traffic stop. Irene Araujo said she immediately brought his medication, Gardenal, to Woonsocket police headquarters, where he was being held, only to be turned away by officers who refused to accept it.
“I told them he needed the medication, and I told them he had seizure problems,” Irene Araujo said yesterday. “He can’t skip a day without medication.”
Today’s report from Ms. Ziner reminds us that this version of events was quickly debunked…
Randy Olen, a Providence lawyer who represents the family, said the case “represents a tragedy that should have and could have been avoided.” Olen said the family maintains that authorities “were put on notice that Mr. Araujo required life-sustaining medication, and the information was not acted upon, and that the failure to do so may have led to his death.”
Mr. Olen made this distinction that it was “information” and not “medication” brought to the Woonsocket police as early as August 11. Between the statement of Araujo family’s lawyer and what can be observed from the audio/visual evidence that has been released, there is nothing to support a claim that either Woonsocket Police or Federal authorities denied any medication that was otherwise readily available to Mr. Araujo.

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16 years ago

This is what I call a “template” story.
Leftist advocates will use it to harp about police brutality, about the mistreatment of illegal aliens, about the impropriety of arresting for traffic offenses, etc., etc., etc.
The actual facts make no difference to them, which is why they were so ready to presume that the police had deliberately withheld medication just to be cruel.
Why wait for the investigation to run its course when it’s much easier simply to make the story fit your template?
Thorough police work — checking warrants and following through — is one of the things that keeps us safe.
Few remember that it was an alert NY police officer — checking out overdue parking tickets — who led to the capture of David Berkowitz a/k/a Son of Sam.

16 years ago

This is a tragic story and I am not attempting to minimize the loss of Mr. Araujo’s life.
I wonder why, though, he did not have his needed medication on his person at the time of the traffic stop? I understood from the reports that he was working in Woonsocket, finished his shift, and was on his way home. It appears that he was not supposed to go for long periods without the medication, yet he apparently left home and worked through his shift without it.
It could be that he forgot it, or that he was refusing to take it (which as we all know is sometimes true of persons who are supposed to be on medication), Or that it feel out of his pocket, or any number of other explanations.
But you cannot blame the Woonsocket Police or ICE for the fact that he did not have his much-needed medication with him at the time he was stopped.

16 years ago

“…The stomach-turning attempts by immigration activists to advance a political agenda using Mr. Araujo’s death…”
Yes, they are trying to advance a political aagenda. But so are you and Justin Donald H and Marc C. The “left” is doing this the same way you’re trying to advance a poitical agenda with the teachers’ contracts and pretty much everything else you write about here.
Why is it less “stomach-turning” when you folks do it?

16 years ago

“The “left” is doing this the same way you’re trying to advance a poitical agenda with the teachers’ contracts and pretty much everything else you write about here.”
Klaus! How nice of you to check in. Has it been a month already?
It looks like you missed all of the fact-filled posts on Anchor Rising about teacher contracts and the state of education in Rhode Island. No problem; glad to update you.
Here’s where we stand. The NEARI and AFT have purchased our elected officials who have done their bidding by making Rhode Island teachers the eighth highest paid in the country and raising our taxes to the seventh (or fourth) highest in the country while allowing our schools to slide to a ranking of 46.
Some of our elected officials – those in Tiverton, E.G. and Burrillville – are belatedly catching on that this may possibly be a teeny bit of a problem and possibly – let’s not leap to any conclusions here! – not in the best interest of the children.
What has Anchor Rising been doing? Why, that which no other forum or media has chosen to do: researching and disseminating vital information and encouraging those elected officials to make our children and a return to good government a priority with their official actions.
Now that you’ve been brought up to speed, Klaus, tell us. Good education and good government. Surely you do not oppose these things, as your original, derogatory (but not yet well-informed) words implied.
As always, we’re hanging on your answer.

16 years ago

What gives the lie to the left’s position on the Araujo story is their willingness to presume that law enforcement acted badly without waiting for a complete investigation.
They have done the same thing with the NP/Jackie’s Galaxy story.
For all I know, when all of the facts are known it may turn out that the police were in the wrong in both instances, or in neither. But drawing final conclusions without first gathering facts is just foolish.

16 years ago

It’s just that, for the last 6 years, the Right has been using 9/11 as a means of furthering their particular political agenda, such as the war in Irag. This was done by spreading the lie that Saddam was responsible for 9/11. I honestly have no idea what the position of most of the denizens of AR has been on Iraq, but the analogy seems to be the same. So why is it only stomach-turning when the left does it? For the record Susan: I agree that the teachers’ salaries are out of hand. Their salaries cannot continue to grow faster than the salaries of the private sector taxpayers who have to pay these salaries. BUT: the fault lies with 25 years of supply side economics and the stagnant wages that have resulted. Take Justin; he is a perfect example of what Republican policies that favor the richest of the rich have done to our country. The guy has to work 80 hours a week, with a week’s vacation, “just to get by” as he says, while the incomes of the top 1% of earners have grown darn-near exponentially. What’s wrong with that picture? Did you see the census report the last week of August? Median household income went up, but only because people are working more hours, or more members of the household are working. Actual wages declined. And the median is still below what it was in 1999. And men in their 30s are earning less than their fathers did back in the 1970s. And, please, don’t make me explain the difference between real income and nominal income. Again. So the real problem is the class warfare being waged by the wealthy. Teachers–and everyone else–has the right to get the best deal they can. That is called capitalism.… Read more »

16 years ago

Susan, you might also want to read my comment at the end of Don’s long post with all the charts.
You may be surprised at what you see. But I don’t want to give away the ending, so I’ll leave it at that.

Justin Katz
16 years ago

I hesitate to bother to respond, because every time you come by to “kick the hornets nest” (as you say), you make exactly the same points and then fail to return for the replies. (I suppose that helps you to maintain the belief that your concept of reality is unassailable.)
But since you invoked my financial circumstances, I’d like to layer on two considerations (putting aside the personal culpability that I’ve admitted previously). First, my interests have led me in a few directions that have been barred by folks inclined toward ideology-based blacklisting. No grad school for me; how could I be worthy and still do such things as argue against the Huck-Finn-as-racist Truth?
Second, my being tied to this state so thoroughly has trapped me in among the most doggedly anti-supply-side-free-market economies in the country. Other states have government surpluses; we have a deficit. Other states have dropping unemployment; ours is hovering. Other states have increasing median incomes; ours is dropping. Moreover, the fastest-shrinking group in Rhode Island is individuals living in households with incomes above 5x the poverty level. Next is households with 3-4x the poverty level.
You can’t stand in the middle of the Communist Bloc and insist that the free market is killing your society.

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