A series of newly released videos shows officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency arresting—and in one case violently subduing—several undocumented immigrants in and around a Denver courthouse.
The videos, published on Tuesday by the Meyer Law Office, a Denver-based firm specializing in immigration cases, show two arrests which occurred over the past several weeks at the Lindsey-Flanigan courthouse in the city.
In the first series of videos, filmed in late April, an unidentified man is shown struggling with a group of ICE agents inside the front entrance to the courthouse. (According to Denverite.com, the undocumented immigrant had been at the Lindsey-Flanigan building to address charges stemming from a minor traffic infraction.) As he’s being arrested, the man can be seen crying out in pain and surprise while his girlfriend, who is filming the scene, protests to the officers.
Warning—this video is difficult to watch:
According to Denverite, the man has reportedly been transferred to a detention facility in Texas.
Video of a second arrest which took place on May 5 shows Meyer Law Office client Antonio Garcia being handcuffed and lead into a waiting ICE vehicle. While the agents do identify themselves as working for ICE, and claim to have a warrant, they refuse to show their paperwork to Matthew Keller, identified by Denverite as Garcia’s attorney, who is filming the arrest.
On Facebook, Meyer Law Offices pointed out that ICE is “flagrantly disregarding the letter that Denver public officials sent last month asking ICE to stop conducting courthouse arrests.”
That letter, sent to ICE Acting Field Office Director Jeffrey Lynch on April 6, was signed by 18 city officials, including Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, District Attorney Beth McCann, and numerous members of the city council. In it, the signatories state that “the practice [of making courthouse immigration arrests] has and will increasingly lead to an environment of fear for victims and witnesses.”
“Already,” the letter continues, “we have victims of domestic violence refusing to come to court for fear of immigration consequences which results in violent criminals being released into the community.”
Denver is not the only jurisdiction which has expressed concern over ICE’s practice of courthouse arrests. In March, California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote a similar letter, addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Homeland Security chief John Kelly, urging them to stop “stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests.”
Despite criticism, ICE’s acting director Thomas Homan signaled in March that the agency wouldn’t stop the controversial practice.
“If there’s a public safety threat in a courthouse, we’ll continue to arrest in a courthouse,” Homan told attendees at a Sacramento town hall event.
In an email to Fusion, an ICE representative wrote:
On April 28, officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) encountered Alvaro-Tirzo Sauceda-Malgon, 39, from Mexico, while he was exiting a Denver courthouse. He was arrested as an immigration fugitive since Sauceda-Malgon received final orders of deportation from a federal immigration judge in 2012. He has two misdemeanor convictions. He remains in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.
On May 5, ICE officers encountered Antonio Garcia, 45, from Mexico, while he was exiting a Denver courthouse. Garcia has two convictions for driving under the influence (DUI), and he has pleaded guilty to two additional charges since January 2017. He remains in ICE custody pending removal proceedings.