ICE detainees refuse COVID-19 testing, ‘trash unit’ at Bristol County jail

SE Mass

DARTMOUTH, Mass. (WPRI) — A group of ICE detainees caused $25,000 worth of damage to a housing unit at the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center Friday night after refusing to get tested for COVID-19, according to the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said 10 detainees reported having at least two symptoms of the viral disease to medical personnel. After being told they were required to get tested, Hodgson said the group rushed violently at him and correctional officers, barricaded themselves inside the unit, then started breaking windows and ripping washing machines and pipes off the wall.

Correctional officers, along with a special response team and K-9 unit, were attacked by the detainees upon getting inside but were eventually able to restrain them, the sheriff’s office said.

No Bristol County personnel were injured but three detainees were transported to the hospital: one for symptoms of a panic attack, one for a pre-existing medical condition, and another for a “medical incident” after being removed from the ICE wing, according to the sheriff’s office. All three are expected to be OK.

“The detainees refused to comply, became combatant and ultimately put the lives of themselves and many Bristol County officers at risk with their reckless actions,” Hodgson said in a news release. “I want to commend our medical professionals and our security team for their amazing work for quickly resolving the disturbance.”

Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, released the following statement on the incident–

“These reports are deeply disturbing. We are concerned for our clients, and everyone detained in the Bristol County House of Correction and ICE detention. Immigration detention has expanded at record levels under the Trump administration; now more than ever, we will not allow the increasingly horrific conditions of ICE detention to be normalized.

Congressman Joe Kennedy also released a statement calling for an investigation into the violent altercation.

“Given the conflicting reports coming from all involved, there needs to be an immediate, independent investigation into what occurred last night at the Bristol County House of Corrections,” he said. “We need an independent investigation and the release of surveillance footage to ascertain exactly what happened and ensure accountability.”

The sheriff’s office said the detainees have been moved to single cells pending disciplinary action, criminal charges and COVID-19 testing.

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