Someone just sent me this compilation of this NYPD officer choking people at yesterday's protest over the arrest of immigration activist Ravi Ragbir. pic.twitter.com/yqyUhEiewE— Keegan Stephan (@KeeganNYC) January 12, 2018
The detention orders of prominent immigration activist Ravi Ragbir sparked a massive protest outside a federal building in Manhattan where the activist was detained by ICE officials.
Several NYPD officers were caught on video using excessive force against the demonstrators.
People were outraged and protested against the deportation of the executive director of the faith-based immigrant rights group New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, who was detained when he showed up for a check in with ICE.
He apparently fainted after hearing of his detention and was taken to the federal building in an ambulance.
BREAKING: immigrant rights leader and ED of @NewSanctuaryNYC Ravi Ragbir has been detained and is being transported in an ambulance. Allies are demanding his release #IStandwithRavi #OurNY pic.twitter.com/YF8SkqCv4C— New York Immigration Coalition (@thenyic) January 11, 2018
Initially the 58-year-old advocate’s wife was with him in the ambulance but she was ordered to get out of the vehicle at the Lower Manhattan Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian. After that, she didn’t know where her husband was being taken.
As the ambulance was being taken away, protesters blocked the roads, prompting the police to push them away. Some of the NYPD officers were caught on video shoving and choking demonstrators.
“A lot of us started crying and then after that we got angry,” said Ragbir’s friend, identified only as Rev. Billy.
While demonstrators and advocates were raising their voice in the activist’s defense, the NYPD cops used excessive force, and even unlawfully choked some of the protesters.
"People are outraged. Give people the space to be outraged that their friend, their colleague, a father, a husband, whose wife is here, who has a U.S. citizen daughter, is not going to come home," Linda Sarsour told BuzzFeed News.
New York City police arrested 18 people, including two NYC Council members, Jumaane D. Williams and Ydanis Rodriguez. The NYPD did not confirm whether they were charged.
Rodriguez was also brutally treated after one of the officers used an illegal choke hold on him while detaining him — he posted a picture of the chokehold on Twitter.
This is NOT how you treat people who are protesting for Human Rights. This is NOT what democracy looks like. We can’t call ourselves progressives and pro-immigrants when the @NYPDnews is doing chokehold to us. Injusticia! @NYCMayorsOffice @DHSgov @ICEgov #ImmigrationReform pic.twitter.com/5Y9cRToA3C— Ydanis Rodriguez (@ydanis) January 11, 2018
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson also told reporters during a press conference about several protesters, including himself, who were "suddenly and without warning or provocation shoved and pushed."
"I was shoved and I was not obstructing anyone, I was not blocking anyone, I was not resisting in any way. I was shoved," he said. "Dozens of other people were aggressively pushed to the ground as video will show you."
According to a group of community members and advocates who have fought for Ragbir to stay in the country, the activist came to the United States in 1991 from Trinidad and obtained a green card in 1994, but in 2006, a judge ordered him to be deported because of a 2001 wire fraud conviction.
He has been granted multiple stays of removal, but ICE agents told his lawyer, Alina Das, that they have the “power to make a discretionary choice,” she said.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Eduardo Munoz