For about six months now, My wife has been dealing with a heart breaking problem. As a young woman living in Cottonwood, she adopted a newborn Yavapai Apache boy who became her legal son. The bane of his life has been the white man's alchohol since his first contact with it at age 13. He has spent most of his adult life behind bars because of this inborn genetic weakness.
Now, middle aged, he was turning his life around when racist-minded cops singled him out for harassment. Here is Phyllis' mother's plea to the court. I want to publicize it every way I can. This sort of thing just should not be happening!
Re: Michael Paulsell
As Michael Paulsell’s White mother, I am writing to you In what I am afraid will be my last chance to find genuine justice for my Native American (Indian) son, Michael Paulsell.
On March 28 of this year, Michael had worked and sacrificed for many years to make his life productive and get along in the White world as well as with his tribe, which also has tried very hard to help him. He had fulfilled all the requirements (probations, paroles, fines, etc.) He had achieved employment, made a good salary and established a home and a life that he loved.
Also, during that same time period he had completed over two years of Community College education in Veterinary Assistance. As part of that, he donated many hours and days of his time in helping at the Scottsdale Shelter. When he completed that, though they could not pay him, they gifted him with a Min-Pin, primarily because Mike and they knew that type of dog needs to run. Michael had spent many hours on his bike near the shelter with the dog running beside him. Mike (and the rest of his family) absolutely adored this half-blind little dog he named Dancer. Dancer, of course loved his master back. This was the first time the little dog had a loving, full time master.
On March 28, 2013, Mike had a day off so he took Dancer for a run in the morning. Mike knows the dog’s needs and limitations, so he used his bus pass and carried the dog on the bus in a backpack part of the time. Mike and Dancer sat down on a wall to rest, and watched the police who were doing something across the street.
Then the (Phoenix) police approached Mike and provoked a confrontation with my Indian son. Mike was doing nothing wrong or illegal. He knew the police didn’t have any right to hassle him, but hassle him they did.
They seized Dancer, citing both Mike and the dog (?) for “animal cruelty”. That’s what they told me. Of course, Mike resisted verbally. The police became very forceful and angry about it.
The judge in the case, later rightfully found Michael not guilty of the animal cruelty charge.
Nevertheless Dancer was torn from Michael, and forced to spend five weeks in the hell that is the horribly overcrowded animal shelter. When the dog was released to us he was a frightened, trembling shell of his former self. Had it been me, a White woman sitting with Dancer, do you think they would have even approached us? I seriously doubt it.
Mike, however is still in jail since March 28th and I am told he is now subject to years of prison time – for sitting on a wall with his dog. But, I’m told, that’s because Mike has a bad past record. Apparently, rehabilitating himself doesn’t count.
I would reply that he has spent years and years of his life paying for his past. He has satisfied all those probations, paroles fines and limitations, and still managed to get a good job, a good education, a good dog and his family to love him.
My father was the Chief of Police in my hometown. I grew up in a household “crawling with fuzz” as they used to say . It galls me to remember their jokes that, "if all else fails, arrest the Indian. He will plead guilty to any charge.” Now I find that assessment reprehensible.
The police were the initial aggressors. Without their interference with my son, without their preconceived and unfounded notions, Mike would be living his life instead of having it destroyed at the whim of the police.
I called the police right after the incident to try to rescue Dancer. The police were so defensive it made me very suspicious. They tried hard to intimidate me. But I am a cop’s daughter. They told me several outright lies and when I called them on it, hung up on me. I have documented this.
This is just wrong. Mike should not be further punished because he has done nothing to deserve it. He has already been in jail for nearly six months, lost his wonderful job, his home and his dog. Despite the fact that he was acquitted of the initial charge! All that’s left is the saving face for the cops.
Please, I ask that you, as the last resort for him now, give him genuine justice and let him return to his life.
Phyllis Graham Dexter