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Lawmakers demand investigation after video emerges of ICE agents stopping black jogger

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Lawmakers demand investigation after video emerges of ICE agent stopping Black jogger in Boston (NBC Boston)
Lawmakers demand investigation after video emerges of ICE agent stopping Black jogger in Boston (NBC Boston)

Lawmakers in Boston are calling for an investigation after a video emerged showing federal agents stopping a black male jogger.

Bena Apreala was out jogging in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, when he was stopped by agents from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Boston mayor Marty Walsh, City Council member Matt O’Malley, and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley expressed their outrage at ICE racially profiling a member of the public.

The video was posted by Mr Apreala’s partner, Michelle Lynne, who says that he was stopped for “’running while black’ in a predominantly white neighborhood”.

She adds: “This isn’t something you can ignore and say ‘it doesn’t happen here’, it does.”

Mr Apreala told NBC Boston that the officers approached him without identifying themselves, told him to stop, and asked for identification.

The officer then asked where the father and real estate agent was from, who he was, and what he was doing in the area.

Having asked what he was being detained for, Mr Apreala was told that he fitted the description of someone they were investigating.

He only realised who the officers were when he saw their ICE badges and began recording with his phone.

“Do you have any tattoos on your left or right arm? So we can confirm and we’ll be out of here,” one of the agents asked.

“Am I free to go? Do I have to show you? If I’m free to go, then I’m not showing you anything,” Mr Apreala responded. “Thank you. Have a great day, guys.”

Speaking to NBC Boston, Mr Apreala said that they never identified themselves nor said that he was being detained for an immigration violation.

His mother, Patricia Apreala, said that was not sure whether or not he had been arrested until she spoke with him.

“I have too many videos running in my head about young black males with law enforcement,” she said. “And it was not a pretty sight, I can tell you.”

After speaking with Mr Apreala on Wednesday, Mayor Walsh said on Twitter: “Let me be clear: racial profiling and stops like these are wrong, unjustified, and will not be tolerated.”

“For him and others who might have lived through an experience like this, I’m demanding that ICE stop this cruel practice of inciting fear in the lives of our residents, particularly our black and brown residents, and undocumented immigrants,” he added.

Council member O’Mally, in whose district Mr Apreala was stopped, tweeted: “As someone who frequently jogs along the parkway, this hits particularly hard. This unlawful stop was outrageous & unacceptable. Racial profiling should not happen here or anywhere else. I am working to follow up w/the victim & will address this issue immediately w/ federal reps.”

Democratic representative Pressley has called for an investigation saying that for too long ICE and Customs and Border Patrol have acted with impunity and that she will not stand by while they harass and racially profile black and brown communities.

Enforcement and Removal Operations, a division of ICE, confirmed that agents had stopped a jogger in Boston.

A spokesperson told NBC News: “ICE officers were conducting surveillance as part of a targeted enforcement action Wednesday in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, looking for a previously deported Haitian national with multiple criminal convictions and pending cocaine and fentanyl trafficking charges that may have been residing in the area.”

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