CENTERVILLE, Utah (News4Utah) – A group of protestors who bounded themselves together inside a Centerville business Thursday morning were arrested.
Centerville Police Department said it received a call at 7:45 p.m. of a group of people being disorderly at MTC. They reported approximately 25 protestors upon arrival.
The group is with ‘Abolish Ice.’ They said they chose the Management Training Corporation (MTC) located at 500 North Marketplace Drive to “demand an end to ICE and to call our community into action to resist the expansion of immigrant detention and deportation in our own region and across the country tearing apart our communities.”
“They were being, at times, verbally aggressive towards people coming in and out of the building. It escalated to the point where they did chain some of the doors together so people couldn’t get in or out of the building,” said Lt. Zan Robison with Centerville Police Department.
Demonstrators say the MTC is a “private prison contractor in our own backyard profiting from the detention, deportation, and ultimate separation of immigrant families”.
“This is ripping apart our communities. These are our family, friends [and] neighbors. These are children that don’t have their mothers and fathers and ultimately these are people and people seeking refuge don’t deserve to be detained,” said Taylor Goldstein, media liaison for the protestors.
Lt. Robison said police gave protestors the option to leave before resorting to arrest. He said some of the arrests took time because some of the protestors used devices such as a thick bike lock to chain themselves to the doors inside.
“They did it on a private building and they were asked to leave. We encourage people to exercise their freedom of speech. But if they’re going to protest in this manner, it needs to be done in a lawful area, in a public area,” said Lt. Robison.
Ultimate, eight protestors were arrested.
MTC sent News4Utah the following statement:
What happened today with protestors coming to MTC was very unfortunate. We would have been happy to meet with these individuals to talk about the work we do for ICE so they had a full understanding.
Instead, the protestors came and refused to comply with police to leave private property. The group is advocating to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement which they have the right to do. But they don’t have the right to break the law.
While our hearts go out to anyone separated from their family because of policy that had since been reversed, we have no authority or say in these matters. It would be more effective for these protestors to write their elected officials or take their concerns to ICE directly. We are only a contractor for ICE.
As a company, our job is to provide detainees at the three centers we operate, with a clean, safe environment where they have access to all the services they need including healthcare, legal resources, and contact with family and friends.
The average stay for detainees at one of our detention centers is 65 days. During that short time, we are committed to providing the best services possible. If these protestors were to visit any of our centers, we’re confident they would leave assured that the detainees are treated with great care, respect and dignity.