By John Wilfong
Great Annapolis Patch
August 9, 2011
Casa de Maryland worked with two families involved in a 2008 immigration raid to file a federal lawsuit this week against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The immigrant advocacy group said ICE officials, along with several Anne Arundel County Police officers, committed “blatant and egregious violations of the rights” of two families during the raid that targeted Annapolis Painting Services.
The lawsuit was filed this week in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. According to a story in The Capital, the families are seeking $2.5 million in damages. The lawsuit also asks that ICE change the manner in which it carries out its enforcement operations.
The families involved claimed the raid on June 30, 2008 that involved their homes and 15 others in the area revealed a “widespread pattern of abusive and illegal actions by ICE officers during home raids,” according to a release.
According to a release from Casa de Maryland, the families’ chief complaints are:
- Awakening residents in the pre-dawn hours by pounding and shouting at the doors to their homes and even their bedrooms.
- Entering victims’ homes, armed—without consent, exigent circumstances, probable cause, or a valid warrant—all as part of an operation targeting individuals other than the victims.
- Grabbing, jostling, and pushing residents of the homes, who were dressed only in whatever minimal clothing they happened to be sleeping in, while detaining and searching them in their own homes.
- Making victims answer questions and sign papers in a language they don’t understand.
- Threatening, bullying, and separating individuals from their family members.
- Handcuffing, shackling, and detaining victims for weeks in appalling conditions without telling them that they can speak with an attorney.
The ICE Baltimore Office could not be reached for comment. Questions seeking comment to the Anne Arundel County Police Department were redirected to the county Office of Law, which couldn't be reached Tuesday afternoon.