A regular traffic stop quickly escalated into a mini immigration protest as Border Patrol and law enforcement ended up trying to disperse a crowd through pepper spray. A video of the protest has been uploaded to the internet showing the protesters surrounding a border patrol vehicle.
Police noticed a car was driving at night with a license plate light that was out and stopped the vehicle in a regular traffic stop to inform them of the fact. When the officers asked the driver and passenger for a license, they replied that they did not have a license or any sort of identification on them. Following the standard procedure, the police officer called Border Patrol in order to do an immigration check according to Arizona’s immigration law which mandates this type of verification. As it happened, this stop happened near Southside Presbyterian Church which was having a pro-immigration congregation. When the group noticed the Border Patrol truck approaching, they gathered around the enforcement vehicles and began a protest of over 100 people. They joined hands to prevent the agents from taking away the two undocumented immigrants which caused things to quickly escalate.
The Border Patrol officers were doing their job and following procedures as they were trying to take away the two undocumented immigrants, but because the group was preventing this, they had to use pepper spray and force to disperse the crowd. However, according to those in the crowd, they said the actions of the border patrol were unnecessary. One woman who was part of the protesting group was sprayed “less than two feet away…” in the eyes and face. There was also “rough-housing, there was pushing people to the ground” but despite these accounts, the protestors call the violence uncalled for. Police ended up commenting that they were just following orders and ended up taking the driver and passenger into custody.
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