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Thursday, December 6, 2018

ICE Tried To Deport a Black American Citizen, and Now He’s Suing!

Peter Sean Brown

Peter Sean Brown

Monroe County, FL — Peter Sean Brown, a 50-year old man from Florida, says he was detained for weeks at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and was almost deported to Jamaica as per ICE’s orders — despite him actually being a U.S. citizen born in Philadelphia. Last Monday, he filed a federal lawsuit to seek compensation for his ordeal.

On April, Brown reportedly turned himself in at the Sheriff’s office in Monroe County, Florida for violating a 2 and a half year probation after testing positive for marijuana. He was then detained and the sheriffs told him that he will be deported to Jamaica as requested by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

While jailed, Brown, who was born in Philadelphia and raised in New Jersey, insisted that he had only been to Jamaica once in his life on a one-day visit during a holiday cruise. He offered to provide his birth certificate and even had his employer verify his information.  In addition, the sheriff’s own jail file showed that he has a valid Florida driver’s license and proves that he is a U.S. citizen.

Despite all his efforts, Brown said the guards ignored him and talked to him offensively, calling him “Mon” in a fake Jamaican accent. One of the guards even sang to him the theme song to 1990’s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” which has the lines “in West Philadelphia born and raised.”

Brown had to endure his detention for three weeks until he was transferred to the Krome Immigration Detention Center in Miami via a bus, reportedly without food, water, and restroom with one of the passengers forced to defecate inside.

Finally, an ICE agent at Krome agreed to look at his birth certificate and confirmed his U.S. citizenship. He was hastily released, however, hours away from home and without any provided transportation or fare.

Brown filed a lawsuit against the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, according to a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union. The lawsuit claimed that Brown’s Fourth Amendment rights, which protect people from unreasonable search and seizure by the government, were violated.

“The sheriff ignored our warnings and doubled down by signing on early to ICE’s latest sham — the BOA detainer scheme. With this lawsuit, we reaffirm that, regardless of ICE’s empty promises, Florida sheriffs will continue to be held accountable for doing the agency’s dirty work,” said Amien Kacou, a staff lawyer with the ACLU of Florida.

Kacou added that Brown was told that the incident was a case of mistaken identity that allegedly involves a Jamaican unauthorized immigrant in the U.S. He also said that local agencies are not under ICE’s control, given that immigration detainments are civil and not criminal. However, he argued that “sometimes it’s to signal support for the national agenda and Trump’s anti-immigration policies.”

The lawsuit also stated that his detention caused him depression and job loss, thus, asking for the court to award Brown punitive monetary damages and attorney fees.