By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday said the two men arrested by ICE agents in Bend Wednesday, prompting a 12-hour protest that blocked their transport buses, had a history of “criminal violent behavior.”
“The law enforcement activity in Bend, Oregon is part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s mission to arrest criminal aliens presenting a danger to public safety and take them off the street,” Homeland Security Investigations Spokeswoman Tanya Roman said. “The two individuals arrested each had a history of criminal violent behavior.”
Two men, identified by family and friends as Marco Zeferino and Josue Arturo Cruz Sanchez, were allegedly arrested by ICE agents around 7 a.m. on their way to work and placed in two unmarked white buses.
As word spread of their arrest, protesters started gathering around the buses in the parking lot of the Crane Shed Commons, near the Old Mill District.
By 3 p.m. more than 250 people had surrounded the buses and promised not to leave until the men were released or court action was taken.
Police responded to the protest only to monitor the activity and ensure everyone’s freedom of speech, Krantz said in a video news conference.
Around 10 p.m. Bend Police Chief Krantz arrived on the scene and told the crowd federal agents were on their way to help one of the bus drivers who was having a medical issue.
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An hour later, federal agents in fatigues and riot gear arrived in the parking lot.
One of the agents barked orders to the group saying they wanted to attend to a bus driver having a medical issue and gave a final warning to disperse before non-lethal tactics would be used.
Soon after that, a group of agents made their way to the buses, pushing protesters aside and apparently using pepper spray before storming in and grabbing the two men and others on board.
“While ICE respects the rights of people to voice their opinion peacefully, that does not include illegally interfering with their federal law enforcement duties,” Roman said in her statement. “ICE will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of its officers and detainees, and will vigorously pursue prosecution against anyone who puts them in harm’s way.”
(WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE)
Gov. Kate Brown issued a statement on Twitter Thursday.
“I am appalled by the callous actions of the Trump Administration yesterday in Bend to target immigrant communities and forcefully disperse a crowd of concerned community members and clergy who for hours held the line against injustice,” she wrote. “The actions by federal troops are all too familiar, designed for political headlines, meant to intimidate & strike fear into our communities instead of keeping us safe. To separate Oregon families is unacceptable & heartless. Especially during a pandemic.
“In Oregon, we welcome and include everyone who calls this state home. Those values are codified in our state laws, and they are a part of who we are. We welcome our neighbors, including Oregonian immigrants and refugees. We look out for one another.”
Krantz is expected to make a statement and answer questions from the media this afternoon.
We spoke with Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel this morning and are working to speak with Bend City Councilor Barb Campbell, who attended the protest, and Mayor Sally Russell.