Authorities are attempting to determine whether the black jogger detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents was targeted or simply exercising in New Orleans’ Central Business District.
The FBI was investigating after a woman had complained about being stopped on a downtown street by two ICE agents Friday afternoon, police said. The woman later posted on Facebook that the agents dragged her and sat on her while questioning her. The Facebook page, which prompted a heated debate in Louisiana, said she was taken to jail for immigration status.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, called the incident unacceptable. The governor ordered the state police to investigate.
“Our state police will conduct a thorough investigation to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident,” Edwards said in a statement. “The state police take this matter seriously and I have full confidence in them to do so.”
The administration requested information from ICE about the incident and any evidence that the arrestees had requested as they were escorted from their vehicle.
The New Orleans Police Department says the woman didn’t file a complaint with the force until Sunday night and that officers had spoken with her on Monday.
Sgt. Melissa Matey, a department spokeswoman, said a private citizen said the two agents were following a jogger and stopped them about 3:30 p.m. Friday near the intersection of Decatur and N. Peters streets.
The jogger, a woman in her 30s, said she didn’t know what was being said, Matey said. “She never complained to us she was detained,” she said. “All she said was, ‘I’m being followed by the police.’”
There have been no reports of arrests being made that day, Matey said.
Gov. Edwards said he plans to hold a news conference on the incident later Monday.
The city is conducting its own investigation and the FBI could take over later, the Times reported. The ICE agency, in a statement, confirmed that they were in the area to target “a caravan of vans that had just broken the law.”
It said its agents had “thoroughly questioned the subjects, who at that time had not yet been released.” The agency later changed its statement, saying the agents were also questioning the woman.
Read the full story at the Times-Picayune.
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