Protests over ICE arrests turn violent in Austin

Protests in Austin turned violent Saturday night. Austin police confirm two arrests at two different locations with dozens of protesters.

The protests are in response to the more than 50 undocumented Mexican immigrants who have been detained by ICE since Thursday.

Read Austin police car set on fire during immigration protest

APD said the first arrest for aggravated assault took place about 6 p.m. near the intersection of Caesar Chavez and Chalmers. The second arrest for evading happened on Rundberg Lane. Police said the Austin Fire Department is investigating that same individual for attempting to set fire to a patrol vehicle.

A spike in the number of Mexican nationals detained by ICE in the Austin area has many in the immigrant community afraid.

Read ICE officer injured in incident; councilman Casar says ICE actions confirmed in Austin

“We regularly have between four and five Mexican nationals detained by ICE every day as standard operating procedure. Mexican Consulate officials go every day to the ICE detention center and, on Thursday, we realized that it was not the four or five we regularly see, it was about 14,” said Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico in Austin.

There were even more detentions over the weekend. ICE took in 30 undocumented immigrants from Mexico Friday, five Saturday and at least four more on Sunday. The Mexican Consulate in Austin said ICE told them the detentions were part of a targeted operation in South and Central Texas.

Read APD addresses immigration enforcement with community

“Not all of them are the targeted individuals that ICE were looking for. Many of them, a significant number of them, were Mexican nationals who happened to be in the wrong time in the wrong place and because they are undocumented, they end up being caught in this net,” Gutierrez said.

People in Austin flooded the streets Friday and Saturday to send a message to ICE that they are tearing families apart. For the most part the protests were peaceful, but on Saturday night things took an ugly turn.

WATCH ICE PROTEST IN DOWNTOWN AUSTIN

“I was actually heading home, Rundberg area, I was at a red light, saw the protesters, my light turned green, all those people started getting in front of me, blocking my way when I had a green light,” said Luis, who wants to remain partially anonymous. 

Luis, who wants to remain partially anonymous, said he rolled down his window and asked protesters to move and they started throwing beer bottles at his car. He said not long after that, protesters started calling him racial slurs, and tried to open his car door. Luis said he grabbed his pepper spray and sprayed into the crowd to scare them off, but when he got out of the car to do so, things escalated.

“I mean I got kicked in the face. I almost lost consciousness, had to get four stitches outside my cheek, one inside,” he said. 

Luis called 911 and met with an officer outside of HEB. When the officer asked him to identify those who attacked him, he walked back to the crowd and Luis was harassed a second time. He said protesters told him he had pepper sprayed a kid, something he says if he did, was not intentional.

WATCH VIDEO TWO OF ICE PROTEST IN DOWNTOWN AUSTIN

“I was actually scared for my life,” he said. 

Luis, a Mexican national who is in the U.S. on a work visa said he supported the protesters until they took a violent turn.

“Because I believe families should stay together. I'm not against all that. Families should have to stay together, so I was actually with them and then this happened the next day,” said Luis. 

“Why are we doing this? Why are we attacking people? That's making the Hispanic community look real bad, because there are a lot of good families out there,” he added.

Luis said he will press charges if officers can identify those who attacked him in the video.

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