The feds came to East Haven to force the town to stop harassing and beating and falsely intimidating immigrants like New Haven activist Edgar Javier Marin. The feds also came to town to deport Marin.
“The feds” are two different agencies—the Department of Justice and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Monday afternoon, New Haven immigrant-rights activists plan another trek to East Haven to protest a new move by ICE to detain and potentially deport Marin.
The protest, organized by Unidad Latina en Accion, took place outside East Haven Town Hall at 5 p.m. (Click here to read an account of the rally by the Register’s Randall Beach.)
Marin was one of the victims of East Haven police brutality and profiling that led the Justice Department to launch a civil-rights investigation. That probe in turn led to East Haven cops going to jail and the town spending millions of dollars to put into place a federal plan to address racism in the department.
Marin, an Ecuadorian immigrant in the country legally, coaches youth soccer in addition to holding down a job and participating in immigrant-rights protests, according to protest organizers. They said he has had exactly one run-in with the law: a run-in on June 28, 2011 with former East Haven Officer Dennis Spaulding, who later received a five-year jail sentence for brutalizing Latinos and lying about it.
“On June 28, 2011, Officer Spaulding wanted to tow Javier’s car without justification. When Javier simply stated that he needed to get his construction tools out of the car because he needed to go to work, Spaulding threw him to the ground violently, put his boot on Javier’s neck, and tasered him multiple times in front of his cousins Kenia and Esdras, leaving Javier bloody and injured. Spaulding then charged Javier with assault on a police officer, and the public defender advised Javier to plead guilty in exchange for probation,” stated a release from Unidad Latina en Accion. “Javier went on with his life, completed probation, and eventually he and his cousin were among dozens of witnesses who testified to the FBI and the court about systematic brutality in the East Haven Police Department.”
Fast forward to last Thursday: ICE agents visited Marin at work and detained him. Activists called that a first step to deporting him—based just on that guilty plea. Guilty pleas flag ICE to detain immigrants.
“This is collateral damage of what happened in East Haven and what Spaulding did to that community,” protest organizer John Lugo said in a conversation Monday.
“Mr. Marin’s case is currently being reviewed by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officials in the agency’s Boston Field Office,” agency spokesman Daniel Modricker stated in a comment emailed to the Independent.
“ICE fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference. ICE is committed to smart, effective immigration enforcement that focuses first on convicted criminal aliens, recent border crossers and egregious violators of immigration law.”