Thomas Woodworth is a correctional officer at Wyatt Detention Facility who drove his pickup truck into anti-ICE protesters on the Rhode Island federal jail throughout a protest in opposition to the Trump administration’s immigration insurance policies led by the Jewish group By no means Once more Motion. Woodworth, a 53-year-old captain on the privately run facility, has been positioned on depart amid an investigation into his actions.
Two folks have been injured by Woodworth’s truck and three others have been hospitalized from accidents suffered within the aftermath of the protesters being rammed on the entrance to the jail in Central Falls, Rhode Island, By no means Once more Motion organizers say. Correctional officers used pepper spray on the protesters after they have been hit by the truck, video exhibits.
The protest is considered one of many being held by By no means Once more Motion across the nation. It started about 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 14, at Jenks Park in Central Falls, as protesters gathered and marched to the Wyatt Detention Facility, the Windfall Journal studies. The peaceable protest turned violent about 9:50 p.m. when Woodworth drove his pickup truck into protesters blocking a car parking zone on the entrance to the jail’s worker car parking zone.
No protesters have been arrested. About 600 protesters took half within the gathering, with about 30 blocking the doorway to the car parking zone, the Boston Herald studies. The By no means Once more Motion group has used #JewsAgainstICE as they’ve led dozens of protests at ICE services across the nation, demanding higher therapy of detainees and for immigration insurance policies to be modified.
The Windfall Journal reported in Could 2019 that greater than 100 ICE detainees have been being held on the jail, which is publicly owned, however privately operated by the Central Falls Detention Facility Company. Wyatt additionally homes U.S. Marshals Service detainees, who’re sometimes awaiting federal trial, together with Federal Bureau of Prisons inmates, U.S. Navy detainees and detainees of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. Daniel Martin has served because the jail’s warden since 2015.
Woodworth couldn’t be reached for remark by Heavy.
By no means Once more Motion says on its web site, “We’ve been taught the indicators by our ancestors. As our authorities runs focus camps, and rounds up and cages our neighbors, we’re referred to as to talk out: #NeverAgainIsNow. Please be part of us and our immigrant allies within the combat to #ShutDownICE, #CloseTheCamps and cease the roundups and deportations.”
Right here’s what it is advisable find out about Thomas Woodworth:
1. A Filmmaker Recording the Protest Mentioned He Thought He Was Taking Video of ‘the Subsequent Heather Heyer’ Second
A video, which may be seen above, recorded by By no means Once more Motion, which you’ll watch above, exhibits protesters chanting and holding indicators, with a number of blocking the worker car parking zone entrance on the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island. The protesters have been there from By no means Once more Windfall, an offshoot of the nationwide group.
About 30 seconds within the video, a black pickup truck may be heard honking because it speeds towards protesters sitting on the bottom within the car parking zone entrance. The protesters begin yelling and get up, because the truck continues to inch ahead. A number of the protesters begin banging on the truck’s hood because it continues towards them. Immediately, the truck’s driver, recognized as Thomas Woodworth, accelerates ahead at a number of of the protesters, knocking some to the bottom. The protesters proceed to scream and yell, “disgrace,” at Woodworth.
By no means Once more Motion wrote on Twitter,”Right here is HD video of an ICE guard driving his truck into us as we sat peacefully blocking the Wyatt Detention Middle. We’re placing our our bodies on the road as a result of we see the camps and the roundups. We’ve discovered from our ancestors: NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE.”
Filmmaker Sam Eilertsen, who was recording video for By no means Once more Motion, advised the Boston Globe, “It was stunning and horrifying. I used to be panicking and thought, ‘Am I filming the following Heather Heyer second?’”
Heyer was killed in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, when a neo-Nazi drove his automobile into counterprotesters on the “Unite the Proper” rally.
The protesters have been then pepper-sprayed by different detention middle officers, and that was additionally caught on video. Different movies present the incident and the aftermath:
“After the primary ICE guard ran us over together with his truck, the remainder of them ran over & pepper-sprayed us. The police current simply stood by and watched, doing nothing,” By no means Once more Motion tweeted. Central Falls Police and the Rhode Island State Police have been each on the scene.
J. Aaron Regunberg, a former Rhode Island state consultant and lieutenant governor candidate, tweeted video from the scene and wrote, “Tonight, a captain from the Wyatt drove right into a line of peaceable protesters. Then jail guards pepper sprayed us. In the event that they’ll do that to us, take into consideration the violence that immigrant detainees are topic to, every single day. This is the reason we’re right here. No system this violent may be allowed to proceed.”
In response to the Windfall Journal, 5 protesters have been hospitalized. Jerry Belair, a 64-year-old man from Warren, Rhode Island, suffered a damaged leg, inner bleeding and a potential again harm, organizers advised the Journal. One other individual, who was not recognized, was additionally injured by the truck. Three protesters have been hospitalized after being pepper sprayed. Telemundo mentioned its reporter, Cindy Bernal, was additionally hit by pepper spray.
One other tweet from By no means Once more Motion mentioned, “Tonight we skilled a tiny pattern of the violence ICE makes use of on our immigrant neighbors every single day. An ICE guard drove his truck into our peaceable #JewsAgainstICE protest, then different guards got here out and pepper sprayed the gang. We’ll be again. … We fashioned 6 weeks in the past. Since then we’ve accomplished 36 actions throughout the nation, shutting down dozens of ICE detention facilities and area workplaces, together with ICE Headquarters in DC. We’re simply getting began.”
2. He Beforehand Labored as a Correctional Officer for the State of Connecticut & Was Named in an Extreme Drive Lawsuit in 2007
Thomas Woodworth beforehand labored as a correctional officer for the state of Connecticut Division of Corrections, in response to on-line information. He final labored for the Connecticut DOC in 2010, and seems to have left the division that yr. He was working as a guard on the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Middle, a high-security jail, in Uncasville, Connecticut, on the time.
Woodworth was named in a 2007 federal lawsuit filed by a Connecticut inmate alleging extreme drive throughout a 2005 incident. The lawsuit was finally dismissed, however a federal choose didn’t rule on the validity of the accusations. Woodworth was a lieutenant on the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Middle on the time of the 2005 incident. He was considered one of 15 DOC workers named within the lawsuit by inmate William Hamilton, who mentioned guards used extreme drive in opposition to him after discovering contraband in his cell.
Woodworth is called as considered one of a number of officers who took half in a “violent battle” with Hamilton, in response to the lawsuit.
3. Woodworth Is From Pawcatuck, Connecticut, & Is a Captain on the Wyatt Detention Facility
Thomas Woodworth is a married father from Pawcatuck, Connecticut, in response to on-line information.
In response to Wyatt’s web site, the correctional officer captain is likely one of the higher-ranking positions on the jail. There are three shift captains at Wyatt, who oversee lieutenants, sergeants and officers. It’s not clear how lengthy Woodworth has labored on the Wyatt Detention Facility.
4. A number of Companies Are Investigating Woodworth’s Actions Whereas He Is On Depart
A number of companies, together with the Rhode Island State Police, the Central Falls Police Division and the Rhode Island Legal professional Basic’s workplace are investigating Thomas Woodworth’s actions as a possible crime. Jail officers say Woodworth has been suspended and an investigation shall be carried out by federal and Wyatt officers as properly.
“Warden Daniel Martin can also be conducting a prime to backside assessment of the incident, Wyatt correctional officers’ response and Wyatt’s protocols relating to protest actions exterior of the ability,” a press release from a Wyatt spokesman mentioned. “Captain Thomas Woodworth has been positioned on administrative depart pending the outcomes of the unbiased investigation carried out by the Rhode Island State Police, and Wyatt’s inner investigation. Wyatt helps the First Modification proper of residents to peacefully protest on public property surrounding the ability and the First Modification proper of journalists to report on the ability.”
Rhode Island politician Aaron Regunberg mentioned on Fb that police declined to intervene, didn’t detain the motive force and didn’t take witness statements from protesters. Regunberg wrote, “I additionally need to make very clear that actually dozens of us from tonight’s protest requested, clamored, demanded that the police take witness statements concerning the assault, and so they actively refused to take action.”
Central Falls Police Chief Daniel Barzykowski advised the Windfall Journal that wasn’t true. “We requested anybody that noticed something to come back to the station and file a report [due to the number of people on the scene],” he advised the newspaper.
State Police Main Timothy Sanzi advised the newspaper they want witnesses to come back ahead. He added, “We’re wanting into any potential crime. We simply need to guarantee the general public that we’re doing an entire and thorough investigation.”
Rhode Island Legal professional Basic Peter Neronha mentioned in a press release, “As soon as now we have a full understanding of the related information, we are going to decide the best way to proceed. Peaceable protest is a elementary proper of all People; it’s unlucky final evening’s scenario unfolded because it did. We urge all to train restraint as our investigation proceeds.”
The Wyatt Detention Facility lately started taking in detained immigrants. The power had stopped holding ICE detainees in 2008 after a Chinese language man, Hiu Lui “Jason” Ng, died because of “merciless, inhumane, malicious and sadistic conduct,” the ACLU mentioned in a wrongful loss of life lawsuit, in response to The Windfall Journal. Ng died of liver most cancers after being ignored by employees on the jail, in response to the ACLU.
“What occurred with Jason Ng was completely horrendous,” Steven Brown, govt director of the Rhode Island ACLU advised the Windfall Journal in Could 2019. “I’m positive issues have modified over the course of a decade, however it’s completely important that there be vital oversight in the event that they’re going to begin holding these detainees once more. What occurred earlier than merely can not occur once more.”
Brown added, “That is all about cash,” he mentioned. “They’re all the time rooting for extra folks to fill their beds, sadly.”
ICE spokesman John Mohan advised the Journal in a press release, “As of March 10, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Enforcement and Removing Operations (ERO) Boston began using house on the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility, in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to deal with ICE detainees. As with all ICE detention services, the Wyatt facility will adjust to the company’s rigorous detention requirements.”
5. State, Native & Federal Elected Officers in Rhode Island Reacted to the Incident With Anger & Known as for an Investigation
Elected officers in Rhode Island reacted with anger and requires an investigation after the incident was unfold on-line by organizers of the protest and their supporters.
“I share the outrage Rhode Islanders are feeling concerning the incident depicted within the video on the Wyatt Detention Middle,” Governor Gina Raimondo mentioned in a press release. “Our state and our nation have been constructed on the concept everybody has a proper to precise their opinion publicly and peacefully. President Trump’s immigration insurance policies are immoral, and these Rhode Islanders have been exercising their constitutional proper to protest. I’m in communication with Rhode Island State Police Colonel Jim Manni relating to the occasions of final evening, and we’re dedicated to a full investigation.”
Home Minority Chief Blake Filippi, a Republican, mentioned on social media, “Anticipating swift and decisive motion by legislation enforcement. The actions by the truck driver don’t look like in self protection, or protection of others, from imminent hurt — the one justification for violence.”
U.S. Rep. David Cicilline mentioned on Twitter, “Very disturbing movies taken final evening exterior the Wyatt Detention Facility. The appropriate of a free folks to protest their authorities is key to our democracy. Wyatt wants to totally cooperate with the State Police and the Legal professional Basic throughout their investigation.”
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse tweeted, “RI was based on the precept of tolerance & there isn’t any place right here for any assault on peaceable protestors. This incident must be completely investigated & these accountable should be held accountable.” Fellow U.S. Senator Jack Reed added in a tweet, “Peaceable protest is an American proper. Final evening’s video could be very disturbing and the state police should swiftly examine.”
The ACLU of Rhode Island’s govt director Steven Brown mentioned in a press release, “Final evening’s incident exterior the Wyatt Detention Facility was unconscionable, and nothing lower than an try to relax the train of First Modification rights by tons of of peaceable protesters.”
Brown added, “Whereas a number of the protesters could have been obstructing the doorway to a car parking zone, there are various mechanisms out there to police to handle such conduct. Nevertheless, a correctional officer’s deliberate deployment of a pickup truck to push folks away from the lot, and the indiscriminate use of pepper spray on the protesters by Wyatt guards have been fully unacceptable makes use of of drive. We’re happy that the Legal professional Basic has agreed to conduct an investigation of this disturbing incident, and we stay up for seeing the suitable people held accountable for what occurred.”
ICE spokesman John Mohan mentioned in a press release that personnel from the company weren’t concerned within the response to the protest and added, “misinformation concerning the ICE mission continues to shroud the company’s vital legislation enforcement perform and unnecessarily places communities and ICE personnel in danger.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement totally respects the Constitutional rights of all folks to peacefully and lawfully categorical their opinions; nonetheless, the company will proceed to carry out its immigration enforcement mission in line with federal legislation and company coverage.”
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