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ICE arrests man without producing warrant after car window broken, livestream shows

Posted at 10:40 AM, Jul 23, 2019

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An arrest made by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents Monday in Kansas City, Missouri, is raising questions and concerns from civil rights groups and lawmakers alike.

In a Facebook Live video, Cheyenne Hoyt streamed the arrest of her partner, later identified in a Facebook Fundraiser as Florencio Millan-Vazquez, 32. As of Tuesday morning, the video had been viewed more than 200,000 times.

Millan-Vazquez and Hoyt have two children, a 7-month-old and 11-year-old, who were in the car at the time of the arrest.

In the video, Hoyt says the family was in the car to go to doctor's appointment for the baby when plain-clothes ICE agents boxed in the car and approached the vehicle.

In the video, Hoyt and Millan-Vazquez repeatedly asked to see a warrant for his arrest.

Hoyt said the agents told her they had a "paperless warrant" and asked Millan-Vazquez again to get out of the car.

He refused.

The agents then told the family they had a regular warrant but didn't produce the paperwork. Hoyt said the agents didn't know Millan-Vazquez's name and kept asking for his identification.

ICE called KCPD for assistance. Officers spoke with Millan-Vazquez, asking him questions and trying to convince him to get out.

KCPD spokesperson Jake Becchinas said the agency 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."

About 20 minutes into the video, after repeated threats to do so, an ICE agent broke the car window. They placed Milan in handcuffs and into one of the ICE vehicles.

During their father's arrest, the children whimpered and cried in the back seat.

Hoyt was allowed to say goodbye, but when Millan-Vazquez 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 said.

ICE agents in the video said one of them was injured while breaking the window.

Becchina said Millan-Vazquez was taken to an ICE facility.

ICE released a statement Tuesday morning stating Millan-Vazquez was an immigration fugitive at the time of his arrest. ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer also said Millan-Vazquez has a prior criminal history of misdemeanor offenses.

In 2011, Millan-Vazquez 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-Vazquez 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-Vazquez "remains in ICE custody pending removal to Mexico."

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-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.

More2 — a Kansas City-based social justice organization — and the Advocates for Immigrants Rights & Reconciliation (AIRR) released a joint statement.

"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 said 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. local time 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.

This story was originally published by Hailey Godburn on KSHB in Kansas City.