The New York Daily News reports, ICE agents stormed a Brooklyn restaurant and used pepper spray to nab an undocumented illegal immigrant worker after she resisted arrest, according to ICE and officials.
Agents barged into La Cabaña restaurant on Flatbush Avenue in the Flatbush neighborhood on Sunday, March 1.
The agents barged into La Cabana, a Spanish eatery on Flatbush Ave. in the Flatbush neighborhood on Sunday, March 1 and nabbed Maria De Los Angel Sanz Pimentel, a Dominican illegal immigrant without a work visa and a recent arrest for a bar fight, ICE and officials report.
The arrest was caught on camera and posted on Twitter – Pimentel can be heard coughing and seen on the ground surrounded by ICE agents, who then eased the woman back to her feet. Customers at the restaurant shout at the agents and recorded the chaos on their phones.
“They entered where she was, they threw her to the floor and two men were on top of her and they sprayed her with pepper spray,” alleged Pimentel’s sister, Jenny Sanz, who traveled from Florida to New York after she heard her sister had been detained. “The violence isn’t necessary. I don’t why they were using so much force.”
The video was denounced by elected officials and advocacy groups.
“The fact that officers would barge in and pepper spray her is outrageous,” said Brooklyn Democratic state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, who posted the video on Saturday. “They came here to work and be a productive part of this community… It’s so incredibly painful this is where we are at… we have arrived at a point where if we as a society do not condemn these sorts of actions we will be in trouble.”
ICE said they captured Pimentel because she’d overstayed a visa that expired Sept. 22, 2019, and was flagged following her Feb. 25 arrest for a fight with a friend at a bar. ICE spokesperson Rachael Yong Yow said in a statement that the woman “resisted arrest,” after not listening to officers’ instructions.
“A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Fugitive Operations Team discharged oleoresin capsicum, more commonly known as OC spray, while attempting to arrest Maria De Los Angel Sanz Pimentel, an illegally present Dominican national,” ICE officials stated. “This was after Sanz Pimentel resisted arrest…”
“During this enforcement action, ICE officers were within the scope of their law enforcement duties and acted with professionalism and respect to ensure the safety of all parties involved,” the statement added. “On scene, officers maintained effective communication with Sanz Pimentel and bystanders by ensuring them she would be afforded all courtesy to include a translator during processing. Although the scene became chaotic with bystanders, officers continued to conduct themselves with professionalism to ensure the scene remained safe.”