ACLU says US citizen detained by ICE was racially profiled and mocked for his disability

ACLU says US citizen detained by ICE was racially profiled and mocked for his disability
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Monday released documents it says show that a U.S. citizen detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was racially profiled by a police officer. 

The ACLU said in a statement that the records it obtained show Grand Rapids, Mich., police Capt. Curt VanderKooi racially profiling Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, according to NBC News


The organization is also maintaining that VanderKooi mocked Ramos-Gomez's disability. Ramos-Gomez, a native of Michigan, is a former Marine who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to NBC.

“Here is an officer who sees someone who is Latino, who has a Latino sounding name, and contacts ICE,” Miriam Aukerman, senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Michigan, told NBC News.

The documents the ACLU disclosed on Monday display a timeline of events involving Ramos-Gomez's arrest and subsequent detainment by ICE. 

NBC News noted that Ramos-Gomez was arrested on Nov. 21 after allegedly setting a small fire, pulling an alarm and trespassing on a heliport at a hospital in Grand Rapids. 

The ACLU says that Ramos-Gomez had his passport in his bag at the time of the arrest. 

"They took a photograph of his passport when they logged his property into evidence. They knew he was a U.S. citizen," Aukerman told NBC News. 

The timeline indicates that police later discovered that Ramos-Gomez had mental health issues. The timeline then shows that VanderKooi emailed an ICE officer about Ramos-Gomez's status after watching a news report about the arrest. 

Another ICE officer then reportedly emailed VanderKooi on Nov. 23 saying that he interviewed Ramos-Gomez and discovered “he is a foreign national illegally in the U.S." 

ICE has contended that Ramos-Gomez said he was in the U.S. illegally during an interview, according to NBC News.

VanderKooi reportedly then replied to the ICE officer, “Spectrum Helicopter Pad Loco," the Spanish word for crazy.

ACLU said that Ramos-Gomez pleaded guilty to trespassing on Dec. 14 before being taken into ICE custody. He was held by ICE until Dec. 17, according to NBC News. 

ICE told the news network that it authorized the former Marine's release after receiving documents from the family's lawyer indicating that Ramos-Gomez was a legal citizen. 

The Grand Rapids Police Department said Monday that the police officer who contacted ICE did so because of Ramos-Gomez's actions. Interim Police Chief David Kiddle also acknowledged that the officer used "unprofessional language" in his communication with ICE and that the matter has been addressed.