CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. – A corrections officer slowly drove his truck through a group of protesters that had formed a line outside of an ICE detention center on Wednesday night.
But with the way the media reported it, you would’ve thought that he plowed through the crowd in a horrific act of violence.
Here’s one of the headlines from Newsweek:
“CORRECTIONAL OFFICER DROVE PICKUP TRUCK INTO GROUP OF PEACEFUL PROTESTERS: HE ‘RAN US OVER'”
Obviously that’s an attention-grabber. Who would so recklessly charge their pickup through a group of peaceful protesters?
Here’s another from ABC News:
“OFFICERS PEPPER-SPRAY PROTESTERS AS TRUCK DRIVES THROUGH CROWD OUTSIDE ICE FACILITY”
Newsweek reported that on Wednesday, hundreds of Jewish protesters, mostly members of Never Again Action, a group that advocates for the rights of migrants detained by ICE, gathered outside the Donald W. Wyatt Detention facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island.
A video was posted on Twitter that showed the large gathering of protesters. On the right side of the frame, a pickup truck pulls up and hits the brakes, sounding his horn to get the people out of the way from blocking the parking lot.
The protesters, which were sitting on the ground, immediately jumped up and began surrounding the vehicle, yelling loudly. Some can be seen even striking the truck.
The driver then takes their foot off of the brake and begins moving forward. It’s clear that he did even fully remove his foot from the brake as he crept forward – let alone hit the gas – as the video shows his brake lights on the entire time.
Screams break out and protesters climb onto the truck as he once again comes to a stop. The protesters yell and hit the truck repeatedly.
“F— you, you f—-ng piece of s–t,” can be heard audibly from one of the ‘peaceful protesters’.
BREAKING: Here is HD video of an ICE guard driving his truck into us as we sat peacefully blocking the Wyatt Detention Center.
We’re putting our bodies on the line because we see the camps and the roundups. We’ve learned from our ancestors: NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE. pic.twitter.com/KnOu5xoOEb
— ✡️ Never Again Action ✡️ (@NeverAgainActn) August 15, 2019
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The tweet that went viral following the incident claimed that the owner of the pickup truck worked for ICE, but reports later confirmed that he was actually a corrections officer.
“We have confirmed that the person driving the truck is a correctional officer who works for the detention facility,” one of the protesters said. “The driver was in his uniform when he hit the protestors. His rank and name were embroidered on his shirt and he was wearing a badge at the time.”
Members of the crowd reported that a few of the protesters suffered minor injuries from the incident.
Because the protesters would not abandon their post, blocking the entrances in and out of the facility, one of the officers used OC spray to break up the crowd.
“Many protesters were trying to give the police statements and they refused to take our statements,” one of the protesters said.
Makes you wonder that if a number of cops were there and didn’t take any action, was the act blown out of proportion after the fact?
An ICE Detention Center guard just drove their truck straight through a line of #JewsAgainstICE sitting peacefully to block the parking lot in Rhode Island.
There appear to be no major issues but the disregard for people’s lives is disgusting and scary.
— Joshua Potash 🆘 (@JoshuaPotash) August 15, 2019
Should this have escalated to the point it did? No. Was the corrections officer right in the way he handled the protesters? Again, no. We are, by no means, condoning this officer’s actions.
BUT — the media owes a certain level of responsibility to the public when reporting the news… and these attention-grabbing headlines only aim to vilify law enforcement further the divide between police and the public.
After all, how many people would share that story without reading anything more than the headline?