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Man Drove Truck Into Activists During Anti-ICE Demonstration, Protesters Say

Donald W. Wyatt Detention FacilityDonald W. Wyatt Detention Facility
The Wyatt Detention Facility stands in Central Falls, Rhode Island, U.S., on Thursday, June 6, 2019. Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Activists were protesting at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility—a prison run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Central Falls, Rhode Island—when protesters say a black pickup truck drove into the crowd.  

The incident occurred Wednesday night when organizers with the Jewish activist group Never Again Action blocked the entrance to the facility with calls to shut down ICE and immigration detention centers across the country. The organization posted video of the the incident on Twitter.

Activists with the group have held a number of similar protests against ICE in other cities, including a recent demonstration in Manhattan that lead to nearly 100 arrests. The group's activism revolves around preventing "anything like the Holocaust" from happening again.

Around 10 p.m. local time, activists say the man who appeared to be wearing a prison guard uniform first drove toward them and honked his horn, as they began to surround the truck and shout. The man then sped up and drove directly into the crowd, they said.

Organizers said several people were injured and two people were taken to the hospital.

The Central Falls Police Department is investigating the incident with the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office and Rhode Island State Police.

Warden Daniel Martin told the Associated Press that the investigation will examine "Wyatt correctional officers' response and the Wyatt's protocols regarding protest activities outside of the facility" and that the prison "supports the First Amendment right of citizens to peacefully protest on public property surrounding the facility."

Martin did not confirm that the driver of the vehicle was an officer, but an employee has been placed on administrative leave, he said.

The attack occurred just two days after the two-year anniversary of the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., where 20–year–old self-identified white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. drove into a crowd of protesters, killing activist Heather Heyer and injuring many others.

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