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DACA Action in Grand Rapids Shut Down Rush Hour Traffic, Motorist hits people who were demonstrating with their car

January 22, 2018

On Friday, about 75 people met at Calder Plaza to rally in support of DACA recipients and to demand that Congress pass a Clean Dream Act. A Clean Dream Act would include NO funding for a border wall, increased border security, interior enforcement, more detention centers and NO mandatory E-Verify.

Several people spoke to those gathered, people who had just come from Washington, DC, where Dreamers and their supporters occupied Congressional offices and some were arrest for civil disobedience.

The DACA action on Friday was organized primarily by local Dreamers, but was also facilitated by the West Michigan Coalition for Immigration Reform.

After people spoke, the DACA Action then moved to the corner of Michigan and Ottawa in Grand Rapids, where about half of the crowd moved out into the street on the crosswalk area to block traffic.

 

For about 15 minutes the traffic was stopped on Michigan Street, going both east and west. Traffic coming south on Ottawa was partially stopped, since no one could turn west onto Michigan – as can be seen in the video above.

There were a variety of signs and banners being displayed, from pass a Clean Dream Act, We Support DACA and Stop Separating Families. One of the main messages the group in the street was attempting to communicate was that they will disrupt business as usual as long as the government continues to disrupt the lives of immigrant families – whether that is taking away the DACA program, ICE raids or the deportation of immigrants.

The disruption caused in the street on Friday in Grand Rapids only prolonged the commute for those stuck in traffic, whereas the disruption the government rips families apart and causes tremendous social, financial and emotional harm to the immigrant community.

About 15 minutes into the street blockade, a motorist coming off of Ottawa ran into two people who were part of the protest. You can see what happened at about 30 seconds into the video below, which was taken by someone from the radio station La Tremenda

 

The video doesn’t capture everything, but it was clear from several witnesses that the motorist knowingly drove their vehicle into people who were part of the DACA Action. This motorist then left the scene, completely disregarding the well being of those who were part of the demonstration.

After the motorist forced their way through the street blockade, two federal marshals showed up in plain clothes, flashing their badges and pulling people off the street. Both of the federal marshals threatened to arrest people if they didn’t leave the street. These two men caught people off guard, since everyone was expecting the GRPD to show up and stop the protest.

At this point some of the protestors decided to march in the street on the crosswalks, but this time continuously moving when the light changed, thus making this part of the action within traffic laws.

The GRPD eventually showed up and spoke briefly was someone designated to deal with the cops and then they drove off.

Asking for help to find the motorist who drove into people

If anyone who has pictures or video from the DACA Action, that includes images of the motorists driving into people, please share it with us.

People are asking for help in identifying the motorist, as this person is clearly dangerous. This is what we know:

The vehicle was a silver, Nissan Pathfinder, believed to be a 2011 or 2012 model. People have not been able to completely determine the license plate number, which is believed to be B58 X?T4 or B5A X??4.

The driver was a White male, between the age of 20 & 40, wearing a black hat and sunglasses, holding a cell phone in his hand, which you can sort of see in the picture here on the right.

The car also had a black, Yakima, Rear Hitch-Mounted Cargo Box, which is why it was difficult to get a good view of his license plate.

Shortly after the first motorist that drove through the blockade, “another white man in a white SUV ran the red light and nearly hit a child and her father who were attempting to cross the street in the crosswalk with a walk light too. This father and daughter left the protest immediately after, safe but shaken,” according to an eye witness.

While the action was successful in many ways, it is important to point out that there are people who will do harm to those who are protesting, state violence was also on display during the DACA Action and that this protest is only part of the ongoing struggle for immigrant justice.

For those wanting to get involved in immigrant justice, here are three opportunities in the Grand Rapids area:

Movimiento Cosecha GR https://www.facebook.com/cosechagr/

West Michigan Coalition for Immigration Reform https://www.facebook.com/groups/454724594603533/

GR Rapid Response to ICE https://www.facebook.com/RapidResponseGR/

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