According to sources, at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Louisiana more than 100 immigrants were pepper-sprayed.
This happened a day after guards pepper-sprayed more than 30 immigrant detainees at a separate facility in rural Louisiana. The incident took place at the ICE Processing Center in Pine Prairie and it was not publicly disclosed.
The source says that inmates were then taken to a separate part of the facility to be decontaminated. Bryan Cox, an ICE spokesman confirmed the incident in an email to BuzzFeed News.
Cox said that a “group of ICE detainees refused to depart the outdoor recreation area at the Pine Prairie facility Friday evening.”
“After repeated attempts by facility staff and ICE personnel to disperse the group and restore orderly operation of the facility, a brief, calculated use of pepper spray was employed Saturday morning.”
He also said that no one was injured in the process. But the advocacy group Freedom for Immigrants claimed that “115 immigrants who had been hunger striking for more than five days at the detention center were tear gassed, shot at with rubber bullets, beaten, placed in solitary confinement, and blocked from contacting their families or attorneys.”
The group even provided the pictures of people bearing bruises and said it was the result of being struck with rubber bullets.
An ICE spokesperson denied all the allegations, saying, “there is no truth to those claims. Whomever is telling you that is doing a disservice to the community they claim to represent by spreading false rumors.”
The day before, more than 30 inmates were also pepper-sprayed at the Bossier Parish Medium Security Facility for protesting.
Lt. Bill Davis, a spokesman for the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, claimed that about 30 of the 300 ICE detainees at the facility were tossing the food trays onto and against the doors and created a disturbance. Deputies deployed the pepper spray to stop the protest.
“We cannot have an uprising period,” he said.
Davis also said that many of the detainees involved in the incident were from Cuba and they were exasperated because of the lack of communication over their immigration cases.