Five people protesting a Rhode Island prison that works with Immigration and Customs Enforcement were treated at a hospital Wednesday after a truck allegedly driven by a prison worker drove into the crowd of demonstrators.
In a video of the incident, the crowd stood along the side of the road shouting "close the camp" and "release the parents" as the truck suddenly swerved into them outside the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls. The truck sped up, startling the protesters, then stopped.
Never Again Action alleged that a USA correctional officer was the driver of the truck and said pepper spray was used against protesters, who were also pushed by guards immediately after the incident.
A 64-year-old man, identified by protesters as Jerry Belair, suffered a broken leg, internal bleeding and a possible back injury in the assault.
The detention facility said Thursday that Woodworth had been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the internal investigation and the Rhode Island State Police investigation.
"The Wyatt supports the First Amendment right of citizens to peacefully protest on public property surrounding the facility, and the First Amendment right of journalists to report on the facility", a spokesman said in an emailed statement. However, their peaceful demonstration erupted into chaos when a truck attempted to drive into the group, and law enforcement started using pepper spray.
The Never Again Action group in Rhode Island said it was glad to hear about Woodworth's resignation.
Last month, Jews, immigrants, and allies shut down the Wyatt because when we say never again, we mean it.
A pickup truck drove into a group of Jewish protesters at ICE.
Never Again Action also shared a video of the aftermath of the incident to social media. The group is made up of Jewish community members "protesting the prison's contract with ICE and the inhumane treatment of these people by ICE", protest organizer Amy Anthony told NPR.
The truck then suddenly moves forward while some protesters remain in its path. "That's why we're doing what we're doing, and we're going to keep doing it", Anthony said.
"Thomas Woodworth has been placed on administrative leave pending results of the independent investigation being conducted by the Rhode Island State Police, and the Wyatt's worldwide investigation", according to a statement Thursday from the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, some 7 miles from Providence.
Never Again Action said in a statement that about 600 people had gathered at the prison and about 30 protesters had blocked entrances to the facility for several hours leading up to the confrontation with the truck driver.
"We are answering the call of our ancestors to sound the alarm: #NeverAgainIsNow".
While this incident highlights an attack on those protesting ICE, there has also been attacks on ICE facilities as well.
Protesters surrounded the pick-up truck as it left the facility, with at least one person jumping on the back, before the group refused to move.