Detention Center Guard Who Drove Truck Into Anti-ICE Activists Quits Job
Written by Huffingtonpost on August 17, 2019
A Rhode Island detention center corrections officer who plowed his truck into a line of protesters demonstrating against Immigration and Customs Enforcement, injuring several, quit his job on Friday.
In a statement obtained by local NBC affiliate WJAR-TV, the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls announced that Capt. Thomas Woodworth had resigned following the Wednesday incident, which “remains under active investigation by the Rhode Island State Police and under internal investigation by the Wyatt.”
Woodworth had been placed on administrative leave following the incident, the Providence Journal reported.
Footage of the confrontation shows demonstrators from Never Again Action, a Jewish activist group, sitting outside the facility, blocking the entrance to the parking lot. Woodworth then approaches in his pickup truck, blaring the horn and swerving into the crowd as protesters bang their hands against his hood in an apparent attempt to stop him.
In a statement, Never Again Action said four people were hospitalized, and protesters were pepper sprayed by other corrections officers who rushed out of the facility and jumped into the fray.
Though the organization said it was glad to learn that Woodworth had stepped down, it called for criminal charges against him and accountability for the other Wyatt employees allegedly involved.
“If these officers felt empowered to attack a group of protesters in front of the public and the media, imagine what kind of violence must be taking place inside the prison, out of sight, against vulnerable immigrants and people of color,” the group said.
On Thursday, the Rhode Island attorney general’s office released a statement announcing that it is working with state police to investigate the matter.
“Once we have a full understanding of the relevant facts, we will determine how to proceed,” it said. “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.”
The Wyatt did not respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment on Saturday.
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