The Jewish activist group Never Again Action was protesting the Trump administration's immigration policies

By Harriet Sokmensuer
August 15, 2019 02:02 PM
Never Again Action/Twitter

Multiple people protesting the Trump administration’s immigration policies were injured when a truck drove into them as they blocked access to a Rhode Island detention facility, according to the group that organized the protest.

The organization — the Jewish activist group Never Again Action — said they believe the driver was a corrections officer at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention facility in Central Falls.

In a video shared by the organization on Twitter, the protestors can be seen sitting on the ground blocking the facility’s parking lot and chanting. A truck is seen driving up to the entrance and stopping before the driver beeps the horn. Then, the truck accelerates into the protesters.

While some protesters screamed in panic, others chanted, “The whole world is watching,” and “Shame!”

In a tweet, Never Again Action alleged the driver of the truck was an “ICE guard,” referring to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They have since alleged the driver is a corrections officer employed by the detention center.

“We have confirmed that the person driving the truck is a correctional officer who works for the detention facility,” Amy Anthony, one of the protest’s organizers, told Newsweek. “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.”

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As many as 100 to 150 people witnessed the incident, Anthony said. Multiple videos have been uploaded to social media.

Never Again Action, which has protested the Trump administration’s separation of refugee families and called for the abolition of ICE, shared a video of the incident and its aftermath on Twitter.

“After the first ICE guard ran us over with his truck, the rest of them ran over & pepper-sprayed us. The police present just stood by and watched, doing nothing,” the group wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “#NeverAgainMeans doing what it takes to #ShutDownICE. We’ll be back.”

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Anthony told Newsweek both state and local police were on the scene but “did not do anything. They did not talk to the driver, they did not try to apprehend him. Many protesters were trying to give the police statements and they refused to take our statements.”

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Never Again Action wrote on Twitter that five protestors were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries: Two after being hit by the truck and three after being pepper-sprayed.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha issued a statement saying his office is investigating the incident with the state police.

“Once we have a full understanding of the relevant facts, we will determine how to proceed,” the statement says. “Peaceful protest is a fundamental right of all Americans; it is unfortunate last night’s situation unfolded as it did. We urge all to exercise restraint as our investigation proceeds.”

PEOPLE’s calls to Central Falls Police Department, Rhode Island State Police, Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility and ICE were not immediately returned Thursday.