KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSHB) — An arrest made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents Monday in Kansas City, Missouri, is raising questions and concerns from rights groups and lawmakers alike.
In a Facebook Live video that by Tuesday morning had been viewed more than 20,000 times, Cheyenne Hoyt streamed the arrest of her partner, identified as Florencio Millan-Vazquez, 32.
Millan and Hoyt have two children, a 7-month-old and 11-year-old, who were in the car at the time of the arrest.
The family had just left their home to go to a doctor’s appointment for the baby, Hoyt said in the video, when ICE agents in Jeeps and plain clothes boxed their car in and approached the vehicle.
Hoyt and Millan can be heard repeatedly asking to see a warrant for his arrest in the video.
Hoyt said the agents told her they had a “paperless warrant” and asked Millan again to get out of the car.
The agents then told the family they had a regular warrant, but still didn’t show it. Hoyt said the agents didn’t know Millan’s name and kept asking for his identification.
ICE called KCPD for assistance. Officers spoke with Millan, asking him questions and trying to convince him to get out.
KCPD spokesman Jake Becchina told 41 Action News KCPD will, “from time to time” help “other local, county, state, or federal agencies” which “may be conducting enforcement activity in Kansas City and find themselves in need of assistance.”
After repeated threats to do so, an ICE agent broke the car window about 20 minutes into the video.
They placed Millan in handcuffs and into one of the ICE vehicles.
During their father’s arrest, the children can be heard whimpering and crying in the back seat.
Hoyt was allowed to say goodbye, but when Millan asked to say goodbye to his 11-year-old son, one of the ICE agents refused.
“No, right now we’re being extremely nice to you, but what you just put us through, what we had to go through — you’re lucky that I’m letting you talk to her right now,” the agent can be heard saying.
ICE agents in the video said one of them was injured while breaking the window.
ICE released a statement later Tuesday morning stating Millan was an immigration fugitive at the time of his arrest. ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer also said Millan has a prior criminal history of misdemeanor offenses.
In 2011, Millan returned to Mexico under a voluntary departure order, but came back to the U.S. five days later under a different name. He was then deported.
The ICE statement says Millan was “uncooperative” and “officers were left with no other choice than to make the arrest by physically removing him from the vehicle.”
Neudauer said Millan “remains in ICE custody pending removal to Mexico.”
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri said the video was “very concerning as to the traumatization of children and the reasonable use of force.”
Cleaver said he had reached out to everyone involved to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
A statement from More2 and Advocates for Immigrants Rights & Reconciliation (AIRR) reads “The unmarked Jeeps/ plain clothes officers from Immigration & Customs Enforcement, references to a ‘paperless warrant,’ and their assistance directly from the Kansas City Police Department were issues of concern to advocates. The KCPD has expressly stated that as policy they do not assist ICE yet, they participated in attempts to break out the window of the family’s car, as seen on the video.”
Becchina told 41 Action News the sergeant who was at the scene “assured me that it was the ICE agent that broke the window.”
More2 and AIRR plan to hold a press conference at 3 p.m Tuesday at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 4501 Walnut.
As of 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, more than $2,000 had been raised for the family through Facebook.