What started out as a” really another daytime” in Memphis-based correspondent Manuel Duran’s life ended in his arrest by local police and transport to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The arrest, Duran demands, was reprisal for his reporting about local police actions.
Duran, 42, who is sometimes registered as Duran Ortega, was plowing a Memphis protest in April when he was arrested on accusations of disorderly conduct and preventing a highway or passageway. In a video taken of the accident, Duran appears to be wearing a press button and was not the only columnist in the street.
After the charges were stopped, Duran was exhausted from the Shelby County jail and ICE agents were there waiting to arrest him, the county sheriff’s spokesperson Earle Farrell supposed. A Memphis Police arrest report claimed that Duran’s refusal to get out of the road” effected a safety .” It also mentioned that he did not have a U.S. discovery.
Duran feels his arrest wasn’t over a simple hazard, but that he was aimed at providing his coverage of the Memphis Police Department in Memphis Noticias, the online booklet he founded.
A year before Duran’s arrest, Memphis Noticias wrote a video interview with the status of women whose sidekick detained by Memphis Police and transferred to ICE custody despite hopes from Mayor Jim Strickland that the city’s government was not cooperating with ICE.
” There are three cases once confirmed in some manner in which beings are guaranteeing that’ yes, the Memphis police are involved with immigration where plainly there is this collaboration ,'” Duran said in the Spanish-language video.
Duran received text messages from the Memphis Police Department challenging he take the video down, he told. The journalist refused, but be submitted to interview agency officials and publish their line-up of the story, his bride-to-be Melisa Valdez explained to The Daily Beast.
Memphis Noticias had, of course, produced other narrations “thats been” “embarrassing” for the police agency, added Jeremy Jong, a Southern Poverty Law Center attorney who now represents Duran.
A court petition filed by the SPLC said that Duran, through Memphis Noticias, reported on police shootings, individual incidents of police misconduct, demoes announcing for law-enforcement accountability, MPD collaboration with ICE, and regional ICE enforcement actions and the resulting privation on immigrant lineages.
Duran also mentioned he wrote about about a man whose body was felt in a vehicle at the security forces impoundment pile.
The petition further argued that the” Detention of Mr. Duran Ortega is a direct result of Memphis law enforcement officers’ and ICE policemen’ illegal and unconstitutional actions in targeting, detaining, imprisoning, and seeking to behave Mr. Duran Ortega. MPD unlawfully detained Mr. Duran Ortega to silence and retaliate against him .”
Duran told The Daily Beast, in an interview conducted using Spanish, that he was ” without a doubt” arrested for his journalism.
The police district repudiated the claim.” The question that we targeted Mr. Duran is just fallacious ,” told Memphis Police head Michael Rallings in an April press conference.
” The allegation that ICE engages in retaliation towards anyone else who complain is categorically false-hearted. Mr. Duran was arrested[ by ICE] because he is in violation of federal immigration law ,” ICE spokesman Bryan D. Cox told The Daily Beast.
When he was arrested, Duran related, he was scared because he had never had an meeting like that with the police.” I was doing my work and good-for-nothing more, like any other writer does ,” he said.
Duran left El Salvador in 2006 after receiving death threats for to provide information on immorality in law enforcement and the justice system, the petition articulated. He received a removal ordering in 2007 after he missed an in-migration hearing, but he asserts he never received notice of that listening.
A motion to reopen his immigration occurrence is pending refresh from the Board of Immigration Appeals. ICE tried to extradite Duran while his subject was still pending, but he was allowed to stay after his lawyers entered an emergency motion to halt the deportation.
It is common for ICE to try to deport people who are trying to reopen their cases, Jong added. ICE does not decide lawsuits, but simply executes court orders of removal, ICE spokesman Cox explained.
Duran is currently being held in the LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, Louisiana, but his attorneys will attempt to have him released on an require of oversight so he may return home while his event is pending.
The journalist described ICE detention as “uncomfortable” “says hes” once found a cockroach in his nutrient. Jong said that, at one point, Duran did not have a rug.
” All ICE detention facilities are subject to regular inspections and ICE is fully committed to the health and safety of all persons in detention, ” the ICE spokesman greeted.
Valdez said she and her mom have tried to keep Memphis Noticias alive while Duran is incarcerated, but it’s certain challenges.” We try to keep it up to date, but it’s not the same. I don’t have any event with journalism, ” she alleged.
She is also working to keep Memphis Noticias books abreast of developments in Duran’s case, announcing regular updated information on the publication’s Facebook page and online at freemanuelduran.org. Valdez has also made a donation sheet and petition for his handout that had nearly 1,800 signatures as of this weekend.
Jong used to say Duran’s journalism deems local officials accountable and informs all levels of society about how government policies affect their lives.” He’s the only one that’s doing it for the Spanish-speaking community in Memphis. His absence is a big loss, ” he suggested.
Duran is not the first ICE critic to be arrested on in-migration accuses. NPR reported in March that at least 20 partisans were arrested on in-migration charges–although in those cases, it appears that ICE , not a local police bureau, frequently met the arrests.
However, Jong answered, if Duran’s arrest was indeed targeted, it forms part of a greater pattern.
” ICE is targeting people who speak against them ,” he responded,” We find occurrences from all over the two countries where partisans who speak out against ICE are being arrested .”