August 5, 2021

Caribbean-American legislator arrested for protesting detention of Trinidadian community leader

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From Jamaica Observer

NEW YORK, United States (CMC) — A Caribbean-American legislator was arrested in New York on Thursday while protesting the detention of Trinidadian community leader Ravi Ragbir.

“Many people were taken away by law enforcement today,” New York City Council Member Jumaane D Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants told the Caribbean Media Corporation late Thursday after his release.

“Protesters like myself were taken in an NYPD [New York Police Department] van. Ravi Ragbir was taken away in an ambulance, by ICE [US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency]. The protesters taken in, myself among them, were eventually released. Ravi has not been.

If ICE continues along its current track in this case, he [Ragbir] will be deported,” added Williams, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn. “This is a tragic injustice for him, his family, and the community that he has served and led for over two decades in this country,”said Williams.

He also noted that Ragbir was detained by ICE officials and removed from Jacob K Javits Federal Building in lower Manhattan after a routine check-in with ICE officials.

Williams said he and some of his City Council colleagues had joined New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera and State Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, along with Ragbir’s supporters and a group of activists in protesting, as the ambulance left the building.

He said several people, including him “peacefully protested” but officers began forcefully removing the protesters.

At that point, Williams said he and Rodriguez were arrested, along with a group of protesters, “and removed from the area in a police van”.

“After those arrested had been removed, the remaining group of activists continued to chant in support not only of those who had been taken by the NYPD but Ravi himself,” Williams said.

He described Ragbir as “a dedicated community educator, spokesperson, and advocate for immigrants.”

Williams said Ragbir has served on the Board of Directors and Steering Committees of national and local non-profit organisations.

“He has educated other advocates, allies, community organisers, and elected officials on immigration issues, as well as new policies and reform proposals from Congress,” Williams said.

A Fire Department spokesman said that Ragbir had been taken to Bellevue Hospital Center in lower Manhattan for evaluation, and the ICE spokeswoman said he was later taken into custody.

IMAGE: Caribbean-American legislator Jumaane Williams joining protests as ICE detains community leader and activist Ravi Ragbir. (Photo: CMC)

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