Immigration activists condemned the actions of ICE officers involved in Thursday morning’s shooting of an unarmed man and the arrest of an undocumented resident at a Brooklyn home.
Activists gathered outside of Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park, where both the wounded man and the undocumented immigrant are hospitalized, claim the ICE agents didn’t properly identify themselves or advise the individuals of the charges against them. They further claimed that ICE officers tasered and pepper-sprayed the undocumented resident while attempting to make the arrest.
Officers struggled with Armando Gaspera Unando before Eric Diaz apparently intervened, punched an officer before being shot in the face by another ICE officer. NYPD officials privately say it was “inappropriate for the officer to shoot an unarmed assailant.”
Police also questioned why ICE failed to notify the NYPD, as the struggle lasted nearly 15 minutes before the shot was fired.
Immigration activists were critical of ICE Thursday, saying they are unduly aggressive with undocumented aliens and “shouldn’t be working in a “sanctuary city.”
Among those at the hospital was Councilman Carlos Menchaca, chairman of the Immigration Committee, a critic of ICE.
“We were with the family from the very beginning. We were in the hospital and we are really trying to understand what exactly happened,” Menchacha said. “We are working with lawyers who are talking with the families to make sure there is legal representation. But we are still in investigation mode as to what exactly happened.”
Menchaca stood with Ravi Ragbir, executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition.
“Why is ICE shooting at anyone?” Ragbir asked. “This is a civilian agency, not a police agency, and the mere fact that they used a gun and fired a shot is excessive force.”
Pastor Kaji Dousa of Park Avenue Christian Church gathered with other clergy out of concern and observation of ICE actions.
“This man was shot tragically by ICE agents as they attempted to deport a man. There are two men in the hospital in a confrontation with ICE this morning, and ICE tackled them and took them into custody,” Pastor Dousa said. “This is an escalation that we have clearly seen from this administration as they have been targeting sanctuary cities. That same day that we find out what they are doing, someone is shot.”
Reverend Chloe Breyer, director of the Interfaith Network of New York, said she feared ICE might interfere with medical protocols for both men.
“They have a track record of interfering and they do not respect the rights over citizens they have no jurisdiction over or those undocumented,” she said. “ICE didn’t produce a warrant signed by a judge against them. ICE didn’t say what they were arresting him for. They did neither.”
Breyer added that the government is showing “an increasing amount of disrespect for the rule of law, but also for our constitutional rights.”
More activists are expected at the hospital Thursday, with the NYPD providing additional officers around the medical facility on Fort Hamilton Parkway.