A correctional officer allegedly drove a truck into a group of Jewish peaceful protesters outside a detention center
A man, allegedly a correctional officer, drove a pickup truck into a group of Jewish peaceful demonstrators protesting outside the Wyatt Detention Center in Rhode Island on Wednesday night.
Hundreds of Jewish protesters, mostly members of Never Again Action, a group that advocates for the rights of migrants detained by ICE, gathered outside the Donald W. Wyatt Detention facility in Central Falls on Wednesday evening. The protesters stood blocking the entrance of the facility, linking arms while chanting for the abolition of ICE and the end to America's harsh immigration policies.
At around 10 p.m. local time, a dark-colored pickup truck drove slowly up to a group of roughly 40-50 protesters blocking the entrance to the location's parking lot, before driving straight through the crowd, according to a video uploaded to Twitter.
Amy Anthony, one of the protest's organizers, told Newsweek that the group has identified the man driving the truck as a correctional officer. "We have confirmed that the person driving the truck is a correctional officer who works for the detention facility," she said. "The driver was in his uniform when he hit the protestors. His rank and name were embroidered on his shirt and he was wearing a badge at the time."
Never Again Action claimed in a tweet that the truck belonged to an "ICE guard," however later clarified that he was a correctional officer in a press release.
Although Anthony says the group has obtained what they believe to be the driver's name, they have yet to confirm with law enforcement and has declined to provide details until his identity is officially confirmed.
Videos of the incident showed protesters screaming in panic as the car drove through the crowd. Shortly after the demonstrators began chanting "The whole world is watching" as they gathered around the truck.
Five protesters suffered non-life threatening injuries from being hit by the truck, Anthony told Newsweek. Two of the protesters were taken to hospital for their injuries. The extent of their injuries are currently unknown.
A dozen officers came out of the facility after protesters surrounded the truck and attempted to move the protesters, Anthony said. When the crowd did not disperse, the officers used pepper spray on several of the demonstrators, according to Anthony and a video of the incident.
Anthony also said that state and local police were on the scene, but did nothing to stop the driver.
"I can say that neither the local police nor the state police reacted in anyway to stop the driver or apprehend the driver or help the crowd," she said. "The police did not do anything. They did not talk to the driver, they did not try to apprehend him. Many protesters were trying to give the police statements and they refused to take our statements." She added that between 100 and 150 people witnessed the attack.
Never Again Action also shared a video of the aftermath of the incident to social media. "After the first ICE guard ran us over with his truck, the rest of them ran over & pepper-sprayed us. The police present just stood by and watched, doing nothing," the group tweeted. "#NeverAgainMeans doing what it takes to #ShutDownICE. We'll be back."
Despite the injuries her group faced, Anthony said Never Again Action is not deterred.
"Some of us were harmed tonight, but there are people ICE has detained that are harmed everyday. That's why we're doing what we're doing, and we're going to keep doing it," Anthony said.
Never Again Action is a mass mobilization of Jews who have been holding demonstrations across the country in recent months to protest the Trump administration and ICE for separating migrants families and the current crisis at the border.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.
Correction: This article previously stated that the officer driving the truck was an ICE guard. He is a correctional officer employed by the Wyatt Detention Facility. Although the facility has a contract with ICE, the officers and guards are not ICE employees.