A Virginia police officer was suspended for allegedly helping U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detain an undocumented immigrant
Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. announced the suspension Tuesday, saying the unnamed officer had “deprived a person of their freedom” by cooperating with ICE. Roessler apologized for the officer’s behavior, which he deemed unacceptable.
“Our county is one of the most diverse counties in the nation and no one should have the perception that FCPD is acting as a civil immigration agent for ICE,” he said in a statement. “This matter damages our reputation and the longstanding policy that I have stated many times that our officers shall not act as immigration agents.”
According to the Washington Post, on Sept. 21, the officer in question arrived on the scene of a traffic incident and discovered one of the drivers did not have a Virginia driver’s license. The officer ran a check on the driver’s information through the Department of Motor Vehicles, which showed ICE had issued an administrative violation for failing to appear for a deportation hearing.
After the county’s system confirmed the ICE warrant, the officer called ICE, which responded to the scene.
Since 2007, Fairfax County officers have been barred from confirming individuals’ immigration status and detaining them based solely on civil violations of immigration law.
Roessler said an investigation of the incident is underway. He said the officer had made a mistake and had not willfully violated department policy, but would be sent to remedial training. Other officers would be reminded not to work with ICE, he said.
The Post noted that Fairfax is one of many “liberal jurisdictions” that have moved to limit their cooperation with ICE over backlash to the Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies.
The driver was released by ICE after several hours and issued an ankle monitor.
- Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr.: Screen grab