More than 100 people were pepper sprayed at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in central Louisiana on Saturday after demonstrating in the center’s yard, BuzzFeed News reported on Tuesday.
Citing a source with knowledge of the matter, the site reported that detained immigrants were then taken to another part of the facility for decontamination. ICE has not publicly disclosed the incident. The facility is operated by the private prison company GEO Group, per the site, which operates numerous immigration detention centers and prisons across the country.
The reported incident happened one day after more than 30 immigrants were pepper sprayed at another facility, also for protesting. Last week, Mother Jones reported that immigrants detained at a facility in rural Louisiana said dozens of them were beaten and pepper sprayed on Friday.
At the time, the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office said there was a “small disturbance” consisting of detainees yelling around lunchtime, that pepper spray was used to “deescalate” the situation, and denied any use of force beyond that.
ICE has a lengthy history of alleged abuse against immigrants in its custody. Earlier this year, the Associated Press reported ICE was force-feeding immigrants who were on a month-long hunger strike to protest verbal abuse and deportation threats from ICE agents. Last year, an ICE facility allegedly put a woman in solitary confinement to get her to recant accusations of sexual abuse against an agent. Other migrants allege they’ve also been threatened or punished with solitary confinement for refusing to voluntarily work.
We reached out to ICE and will update this story when we hear back.
Update, 2:54 p.m. ET: In response to BuzzFeed’s request for comment, ICE confirmed a “brief, calculated use of pepper spray” at the facility.