ICE attempts arrest of Jamaican man at Derby superior courthouse

Posted: Updated:

A Jamaican immigrant working in a restaurant in Bridgeport narrowly avoided an arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Federal agents tried to take 23-year-old Domar Shearer into custody at the Derby superior courthouse on Thursday while he was there for a court date for misdemeanor charges of assault, threatening and breach of peace from a prior arrest.

ICE confirmed that agents attempted to apprehend a Jamaican man in a targeted enforcement action. The agency says he illegally overstayed his visa.

A standoff between Shearer and ICE lasted most of Thursday at the Derby superior courthouse.

A rapid response team of immigration rights activists responded to the court when they got word that ICE agents were present.

A state police spokesperson says troopers were called to the courthouse for a disturbance but that they were not there to assist with any immigration matter.

Shearer eventually left the court after 5 p.m. and returned to New Haven with the group of activists.

His wife says he had to hide in the public defender's office.

A new statement from the ICE office in Boston reads in part: "In this case, when it appeared that the activists' disruptive activities created an unsafe environment, ICE officers departed. It is ironic that activists and even elected officials want to see policies in place to keep ICE out of courthouses, while caring little for laws enacted by Congress to keep criminal aliens out of our country."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal weighed in on the situation in support of the court administrator asking the ICE agents to leave. Over the summer, Blumenthal introduced legislation to prohibit immigration enforcement actions at sensitive locations, including courthouses.

Attorney Rob Shrage says the presence of ICE agents inside the courthouse prevented his client from appearing before a judge. He adds that Shearer is a first-time offender who qualifies for a program that could lead to the domestic violence charges being dropped.

"Something like this a standoff, we're talking about seven hours where they're positioned outside a public defender's office ... no I haven't seen anything like it," says Shrage. "The courthouse is not a hunting ground to pick people up that could allegedly be out of status."

Shearer is due back in Derby court Nov. 21.



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