A new video released on Thursday shows in more detail the first moments of an hours-long standoff between immigration agents and a Hermitage man. In the video, agents are recorded threatening the man with calls to Metro Police, despite a city policy barring them from getting involved.
The shaky cell phone video appears to have been captured by the man authorities were trying to detain. It was released by the activist organization MIX. It shows him, sitting in his car, refusing to get out for immigration agents, telling them he’s waiting for his lawyer.
“My (advocate) is coming,” he says.
“You’re lawyer is coming here? For what?” the agent responds.
The man doesn’t answer.
“Well, we’ll just call the cops and they’ll arrest you,” the agent says. “And then when they’re done with you in the jail then we’ll get you.” He adds that they will also come back to talk with the man’s wife.
When the man, who is in the car with his 12-year-old son, still doesn’t budge, the agent tries again.
“Tell your lawyer the cops are coming.”
Agents in an unmarked ICE vehicle blocked the man and his son in their driveway around 6 a.m. Monday morning. Several neighbors rushed over and started livestreaming the encounter. They also told the man to stay in his car.
In a statement, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox said the agents were not out of line to say Metro Police would arrest him. “Driving without a license is a crime under the state laws of Tennessee," Cox said in an email. "Enforcing state criminal laws in Tennessee falls to local authorities, not ICE as a federal law enforcement agency.”
Police did eventually arrive, but they said it was only to keep the peace. The man was not driving, he was only sitting in his vehicle. No arrests were made.
In a statement by Mayor David Briley released just hours after the incident, he said Nashville does not “use local resources to enforce ICE orders.” Our police officers, he added, “do not actively participate in immigration enforcement efforts.”