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VIDEO: ICE Just Shot An Undocumented Mexican Outside Tennessee Grocery Store

Since Trump’s rise to power, the undocumented community living and working in the United States has become progressively more psychologically oppressed. Studies show that undocumented immigrants are so afraid to leave their homes for fear of ICE, they’re now avoiding routine errands like grocery shopping. The Right claims that this insidious culture of fear is simply the consequence of breaking the law. Deportation is a serious, family-altering life event that is right to be feared. Even worse is the fear of violence from ICE officers. The undocumented community is reeling after seeing those fears play out for one migrant who was shot by ICE outside a Tennessee grocery store.

On Thursday, a 39-year-old Mexican national was stopped at a traffic light. ICE agents shot two bullets at the man while he was driving his truck, claiming that act was tantamount to assault on the agents. The FBI have been called to investigate the legitimacy of the assault claim, and still don’t have adequate evident to charge the man with a crime.

It all started outside a grocery store.

@NC5_MTorres / Twitter

Local media outlets obtained footage of the incident, which occurred in Antioch, Tennessee on Thursday morning. The video depicts a seemingly normal traffic stop. The migrant was driving a white box truck, circled in red. Beside the truck is an undercover black sedan with blinking police lights.

Federal officials are describing the moment the migrant drove off as “assault” on the agents.

Bryan Cox, a spokesperson for ICE, told Buzzfeed News that the migrant was pulled over for “immigration law violations.” Cox claims that the man tried to “flee the scene” and “drove toward an agent who then fired two bullets at him.” Now that the video footage is out, concerned citizens are arriving at their own conclusions. “He drove off and not at police. No agent should fire his service arm unless his life is in danger,” tweeted @SheldonAYS.

Another Tennessee resident commented, “Not much assault here, except by the guy with the gun. We really need a president who doesn’t want to turn the U.S.A. into a police state.” Meanwhile, the other side is tweeting, “I am glad the agent is safe. I hope they find this criminal soon and throw him over the wall.”

Footage shows the ICE agents pointing their guns as the man drives off.

@NC5_MTorres / Twitter

The man was hospitalized and treated for two bullet wounds, and left a Nashville hospital the following morning. At the hospital, FBI arrived on the scene to determine whether the man assaulted the ICE agents, which might warrant the use of excessive force by ICE. The undocumented immigrant then surrendered himself to the FBI, now a victim of America’s famed police brutality. His lawyer, Andrew Free, told Buzzfeed News, “The FBI informed me that if there had been sufficient evidence to charge him when he surrendered he would’ve been arrested.”

ICE said that no matter if its agents are prosecuted, the man will still be deported on any given day.

According to Cox, the Mexican national has been deported four times and has a criminal record which includes a conviction of domestic assault. Meanwhile, the FBI is holding the man’s blood-splattered truck in custody until the investigation is over.

In response, the immigrant community is putting on “Know Your Rights” workshops for Nashville residents.

“If we educate our community and we educate the agents on how to approach this situation, instances like today will not be happening; we can avoid bad news with both agents and our community; and right now, our community is living in fear,” immigrant rights activist American Leon told News Channel 5 Nashville. His goal is to ensure that all immigrant families have an emergency plan in place if they get arrested by ICE. That plan must include arrangements for their children in the event they can never return home.

Nashville’s Mayor has all but named Trump to blame for the incident.

@DigitalProdJoey / Twitter

“The federal government’s inability to arrive at comprehensive immigration reform results in situations like what happened in Antioch this morning,” Democratic Nashville Mayor David Briley said in a statement. “This is exactly what we don’t want happening in our city.”

Just two days prior, Mayor Briley signed an executive order calling on Tennessee’s General Assembly to repeal a state house bill that bans state and local lawmakers from passing sanctuary city policies. If the bill is repealed, we can expect mayors around Tennessee to declare their cities as “sanctuaries” from ICE.

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What Is the #EndSARS Movement And Why Is It Taking Over Social Media?

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What Is the #EndSARS Movement And Why Is It Taking Over Social Media?

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

You’ve probably seen the social media posts while scrolling through Twitter or Instagram. Young Nigerians are calling on the public to take notice of the brutality they are facing at home. They post tweets describing terror and violence at the hands of a brutal and powerful police force. They hashtag their posts with #EndSARS.

For non-Nigerians, the call to action can be confusing. What is SARS? Why is the movement calling to end it suddenly everywhere? And why are Nigerians calling for an end to it in the first place? Below, we’ve broken down the #EndSARS movement so it is easy to understand.

What is SARS?

SARS (which stands for the Special Anti-Robbery Squad) is a section of the Nigerian police department that was made in 1992 to combat armed robbery. The unit was also in charge of dealing with other similar violent crimes, like kidnapping and car theft. Since their inception, the officers have operated outside the law harassing citizens (mostly men) without good reason. Many of them don’t even wear uniforms or nametags.

Why are Nigerians protesting SARS?

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Since it’s creation, SARS has become corrupt and has been accused of violating human rights in a myriad of ways. According to The Washington Post, SARS has been responsible for “extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, armed extortion and kidnapping.”

The unit’s officers especially target young people with flashy clothes, cars, or expensive devices, like laptops or smart phones. Usually, only way to get out of SARS custody is through a bribe. It is worth noting that Nigeria is a young country–40% of the population comprised of people under thirty.

What started this round of protests?

Although the first use of the #EndSARS hashtag was documented in 2017, the movement took on a new life in early October, 2020. On October 3rd, a video went viral of SARS police officers shooting a young man and driving away in his luxury SUV. It was then that young Nigerians, including popular celebrities, organized protests calling for an end to SARS.

“Nigeria is facing a reckoning, one that is long overdue,” said professor of global affairs and politics Yetunde Omede to CNN. “With a growing youth bulge of under 30 years old, Nigeria can no longer ignore the demands of young people.”

What has been the government response?

Unfortunately, the government initially met the anti-SARS protests with violence. On October 20th, Nigerian soldiers killed at least 10 protestors who were blocking a highway in Nigeria’s capital, Lagos. That same night, Amnesty International reported that the military and the police force killed 38 Nigerians altogether and many more were injured. It was soon dubbed the Lekki Massacre and served as a snapchat of the brutality that protestors faced in the past month. The incident further inflamed young Nigerians.

On October 11th, the Nigerian government announced that they were dissolving SARS. But the dissolution came with caveats. According to the Nigeria Police Force, SARS officers will be “redeployed” to different police units and a new anti-theft police force will soon be “unveiled.”

What changes do Nigerians want?

Many Nigerians (who are already distrustful of the government) were skeptical of this pronouncement. In response, young Nigerians released their “Five Demands” which they believe will adequately address the wrongdoings of SARS.

The demands include asking for the release of arrested protestors, compensation for the victims of police brutality, re-training of former SARS officers before they’re redeployed, and adequate compensation for officers (presumably so they’re not so tempted to demand bribes). As for whether the Nigerian government will heed the demands of Nigeria’s youth, that remains to be seen.

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In Bombshell Report, ICE Agents Are Accused of ‘Torturing’ African Asylum-Seekers to Get Them to Sign Their Own Deportation Documents

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In Bombshell Report, ICE Agents Are Accused of ‘Torturing’ African Asylum-Seekers to Get Them to Sign Their Own Deportation Documents

Photo: Bryan Cox/Getty Images

A bombshell report published in The Guardian alleges that ICE officers are using torture to force Cameroonian asylum seekers to sign their own deportation orders. The report paints an even starker picture of Immigration and Customs Enforcement–an agency that is already widely criticized as corrupt and inhumane.

The deportation documents the immigrants have been forced to sign are called the Stipulated Orders of Removal. The documents waive asylum seekers’ rights to further immigration hearings and mean they consent to being deported.

The asylum seekers allege that the torture in ICE custody consisted of choking, beating, pepper-spraying, breaking fingers, and threats on their lives.

“I refused to sign,” recounted one Cameroonian asylum-seeker to The Guardian. “[The ICE officer] pressed my neck into the floor. I said, ‘Please, I can’t breathe.’ I lost my blood circulation. Then they took me inside with my hands at my back where there were no cameras.”

He continued: “They put me on my knees where they were torturing me and they said they were going to kill me. They took my arm and twisted it. They were putting their feet on my neck…They did get my fingerprint on my deportation document and took my picture.” Other witnesses recount similar violent experiences.

Experts believe that the escalation of deportations is directly related to the upcoming election and the possibility that ICE might soon be operated under a different administration. The theory is that ICE is coercively deporting “key witnesses” in order to “silence survivors and absolve ICE of legal liability.”

“In late September, early October of this year, we began to receive calls on our hotline from Cameroonian and Congolese immigrants detained in Ice prisons across the country. And they were being subjected to threats of deportation, often accompanied by physical abuse,” said Christina Fialho, executive director of Freedom for Immigrants, to The Guardian.

Many of the Cameroonians who are in the U.S. to seek asylum have legitimate claims to danger back in their home countries. Many of these Cameroonians come from an English-speaking minority in Cameroon that are violently target by the government there–some have died. The violence has been condemned by The United Nations and Amnesty International.

As with many immigrant stories of people who are seeking asylum, these immigrants’ lives are in danger in their home country. They are coming to the United States for a better life. But instead, they are faced with the agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whom they claim brutally mistreat them.

According to report, the U.S. is deporting entire airplanes full of asylum-seekers back to their home countries–deportations that have not been given due process and have been authorized under duress.

An ICE spokesperson contacted by The Guardian called the reports “sensationalist” and “unsubstantiated” while roundly refuting the claims. “Ice is firmly committed to the safety and welfare of all those in its custody. Ice provides safe, humane, and appropriate conditions of confinement for individuals detained in its custody,” she said.

Read the entire report here.

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