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Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez pleads guilty to disorderly conduct in Foley Square protest case

Immigrant rights leader Ravi Ragbir and Councilman Jumaane Williams attended the court appearance in a show of solidarity.

City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, center, pleaded guilty to

City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, center, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, in connection with his January arrest during an immigration protest in Foley Square. Photo Credit: Official NYC Council Photo by William Alatriste

City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct on Wednesday in connection with his arrest at a Foley Square immigration protest in January.

Rodriguez was joined at the New York County Courthouse on Centre Street by immigrant rights advocate Ravi Ragbir, whose detainment by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents touched off the Jan. 11 demonstration, as well as Councilman Jumaane Williams, who also was arrested at the protest.

The councilman thanked Williams and Ragbir for their support and vowed to continue his fight for immigrant rights.

“We will continue to unapologetically resist any attacks on immigrants. We are the majority, and we will prevail,” Rodriguez tweeted. “Thank you to my brothers for standing with me today.”

Eighteen people, including Rodriguez and Williams, were arrested during the chaotic protest that broke out on a cloudy, chilly Thursday morning following Ragbir’s detainment.

Ragbir, who is the executive director of the faith-based immigrant rights group New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, was taken into ICE custody when he showed up for a routine check-in with the agency.

As he was taken away in an ambulance, Williams, Rodriguez and other protesters stood in the road in an attempt to stop the vehicle. Police began making arrests when the protesters refused to move onto the sidewalk, according to a New Sanctuary board member who attended the protest.

In addition to disorderly conduct, Rodriguez was initially charged with obstructing an emergency medical service, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest. Those charges were dropped during his court appearance Wednesday, a spokeswoman from his office said.

Rodriguez said he decided to plead guilty so that he could continue to focus on fighting for immigrant rights rather than dealing with a trial.

“I want to ensure all my energy is focused on unapologetically fighting for immigrants, lifting their contributions, and keeping families together,” the councilman said in an emailed statement. “A protracted trial process would take away from the urgent work in protecting immigrants that needs our full attention.”

Williams on Wednesday said Ragbir remains in the country partly because of the protest that landed him and Rodriguez in cuffs.

“[Councilman] Rodriguez and I were proud to stand up in protest for Ravi and other immigrants facing immoral deportation. At the time, it was considered by some to be a stunt or an empty gesture,” Williams said. “But today, Ravi Ragbir remains in the United States, in part because of those very protests by ourselves and others.”

Ragbir — an immigrant from Trinidad who was convicted of wire fraud in 2001 — was released from ICE detention on Jan. 29 after a judge ruled it was “unnecessarily cruel.”

He was granted a stay of deportation in February after his legal defense team successfully argued that he should be allowed to remain in the United States while a lawsuit regarding his Jan. 11 detention is considered in court. The suit alleges Ragbir was targeted by ICE because of his activism.

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