ICE agents in Kansas City, Missouri were recently recorded on social media breaking a man’s car window and dragging him out of his vehicle to arrest him, while his family watched.
At approximately 10 AM Monday morning, 32-year-old Florencio Millan Vasquez was boxed in by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) vehicles while he was in a car with his family. ICE agents repeatedly requested that Millan Vasquez show his papers, but he refused. Local news outlet KCUR reported that the only known charge against Millan Vasquez was that he illegally re-entered the U.S. in 2011 after complying with a judge’s order to leave. Millan Vasquez has lived in the United States since he was 13, when his family brought him across the border.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), while non-citizens are required to show their papers when an immigration officer asks for them, they can also choose to remain silent if they don’t have their papers on hand, as anything they say or do can be used against them in court.
In the video, which was posted to Facebook by Millan Vasquez’s girlfriend, Cheyenne Hoyt, Millan Vasquez is seen calmly negotiating with an ICE agent outside of his car, saying he didn’t want to step out of his vehicle while the officer continued to insist that he had a warrant for his arrest. Eventually, around 21 minutes into the video, the agent — who was assisted by the Kansas City Police Department — told Millan Vasquez to cover his eyes, as he was going to break the window.
“You can’t break my window. You guys just can’t break my window,” Millan Vasquez said.
“You can do it the hard way or the easy way, it’s up to you,” the agent said.
Then, the agent used a small device to shatter the window. As Millan Vasquez started to resist, Hoyt put her hand on his shoulder, urging him to comply so he wouldn’t be shot.
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Millakn Vasquez’s children can be heard in the background crying as they watched their father’s arrest.
“I’m so scared… daddy,” a boy’s voice is heard saying. “I just want to see daddy.”
Kansas City mayor Sly James — who does not have direct control over the Kansas City Police Department — denounced the arrest, and officers’ decision to assist ICE in arresting Millan Vasquez.
In some communities, citizens have put their bodies on the line to defend their undocumented neighbors from being arrested and taken into ICE custody. As Grit Post recently reported, a group pf neighbors in Nashville, Tennessee formed a human chain around one man’s vehicle in order to protect him from ICE agents trying to arrest him under an administrative warrant.
“Kansas City welcomes everyone,” James told KCUR. “This is our city, and these are our neighbors and our friends. We look out for each other. We mourn together, and we celebrate together. And we must continue to stand together to demand equal justice under the law for all our residents, no matter where we come from or how we got here.”
(Featured image: Facebook/Cheyenne Hoyt)
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.