By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Some community members have criticized Bend mayor Sally Russell for her handling of ICE’s presence in Bend last week, but the mayor says she wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“City council and Mayor Russell: I hope you find your humanity sooner rather than later,” Janet Sarai Llerandi with Mecca Bend said at a protest Thursday morning.
The anger stems from what Mayor Russell and others did, or did not do, when protesters surrounded two busses holding a pair of Bend men who were detained by ICE last week.
It turned into a 10-hour standoff that ended when federal agents forced their way through the crowd to get their detainees off the bus.
“We did what we could within the confines of the law to protect our community members,” Russell said.
Protesters called for Russell to retract and apologize for a tweet she sent out that night, saying that ICE was there to pick up two undocumented immigrants who had warrants out for their arrest.
I’ve been informed that both men being detained have warrants out for their arrest. This is not a sweep for undocumented immigrants.
Let’s please keep our community safe. Please leave peacefully.
— Sally Russell (@SallyForBend) August 12, 2020
“She should have gotten her facts straight first,” said Llerandi. “Sending out that tweet without having information directly from the attorneys caused a lot of the issues that we see today with folks damaging the reputation of those community members.”
State records show Marco Zeferino Rios and Josue Arturo Cruz Sanchez, the men who were detained, have records for assault, harassment, coercion and criminal trespassing, in addition to immigration violations.
Russell says that the information she tweeted that evening was information given to her by an ICE Field Director.
“That was the best I could do in our moment to inform our community with the information that I was given, and I think people need to see that evolution of information,” she said.
Federal charges against Rios and Sanchez have not been released.
Llerandi says she has already called for Russell’s resignation.
“Because of what’s to come in the future in our city, I don’t think she’s fit for the job,” said Llerandi. “If she issues an apology and she’s open to a conversation, I think there’s no reason we can’t sit down and look for a plan moving forward.”
Russell says she encourages anyone with questions or concerns to contact her, but added that it would take a while to get to everyone’s requests.