AP: Federal authorities have launched an investigation into allegations that a guard beat one of four Iranian brothers who have been detained for more than three years at an
immigration detention center, authorities said. Associated Press
By GILLIAN FLACCUS
Los Angeles – Federal authorities have launched an investigation into allegations that a guard beat one of four Iranian brothers who have been detained for more than three years at an immigration detention center, authorities said.
Representatives of the Office of the Inspector General visited the facility Monday to look into claims that Mohammed Mirmehdi was beaten after he intervened in an argument between his brother and the guard, said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“We will cooperate fully with this investigation,” Kice said Tuesday. “We want to make sure that all our procedures are followed properly.”
Tamara Faulkner, spokeswoman for the Office of the Inspector General, said she couldn’t confirm or deny reports of an investigation.
News of the investigation came as the ACLU issued a letter demanding an investigation, the release of surveillance videotape and additional medical training for guards at the San Pedro Processing Center.
ICE officials and Mirmehdi agree that an altercation occurred Saturday, but they differ substantially on most details. The ACLU recounted the detainees’ version of the incident in the letter sent Monday to federal investigators.
It said the incident started when another detainee, Abdel-Jabbar Hamdan, repeatedly asked for permission to use the bathroom. Hamdan suffers from kidney stones and severe diabetes and must use the toilet frequently, ACLU attorney Ahilan Arulanantham wrote.
An ICE agent identified only as “M. Lopez” took Hamdan to the toilet, but the detainee collapsed as he emerged, the letter said.
When Mostafa Mirmehdi asked the agent if Hamdan was OK, Lopez screamed at him and Mirmehdi’s brother, Mohammed, intervened, the ACLU said.
Lopez then grabbed his hand, punched him in the face and abdomen and dragged him into a holding area, where he beat him with handcuffs, Mohammed Mirmehdi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Saturday.
Kice offered a different version of events.
She said Mohammed Mirmehdi punched Lopez after the guard asked him to step back. A scuffle followed and the guard fell against a door that swung open, dumping both men onto the concrete floor.
Lopez required treatment for a bruised lip and has returned to duty with no restrictions, Kice said. Hamdan and Mohammed Mirmehdi also were treated and remained at the facility.
Mirmehdi will stay in a segregated area during the investigation, Kice said.
The ACLU said Mirmehdi had multiple severe bruises on his neck and lacerations on his forearms and face.
“There was no conceivable way you could get this from just falling down,” ACLU attorney Arulanantham said.