Residents in Queens, New York rallied together to try and prevent ICE agents from taking a man into custody on his way to trial. NBC News reports that Hardat Sampat, 35, is an undocumented citizen and a Guyanese national. While he was headed to Queens Criminal Court on Tuesday morning, agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department boxed in the car he was in and proceeded to arrest him.
To stall, his wife, who was driving, refused to move her car and let the officers through. This is when the crowd began to build and ICE agents called for backup. The New York Daily News reports there were no additional arrests while NYPD officers were brought to the scene for crowd control.
The intervention by the NYPD was deemed controversial, especially following Police Commissioner James O’Neill declaration that the department wouldn’t assist President Trump’s mission to round up undocumented citizens with the help of local police.
In the case of Sampat, the potential loophole the NYPD could use is that he was charged with second-degree burglary, a felony, which could result in his deportation. The charges are connected to two separate instances when Sampat is accused of breaking into the home of a woman he knows on April 9 and April 30. He’s suspected of spraying white paint on the walls and furniture during the second instance.
“My sister in law, my mother in law, say he’s innocent,” said one woman, who wasn’t identified. “He didn’t do anything. Why? Why is this? He had a court case today. Let him go. And let the judge make the decision.”