Memphis journalist detained by ICE after charges dropped - WSMV News 4

Memphis journalist detained by ICE after charges dropped

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Manuel Duran (Courtesy: Memphis Notacias) Manuel Duran (Courtesy: Memphis Notacias)

Multiple groups are demanding the release of Memphis journalist Manuel Duran, who remains in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody after criminal charges against him were dropped. 

Manuel Duran was one of nine arrested outside the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday during a larger protest against ICE's policies, poverty, and other societal ills facing Hispanic Americans. 

The group was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing a highway. 

Duran's attorney, Anne Schiller, said she's thankful criminal charges have been dropped in the case, but she's still worried that Duran may be deported.

"I would really like to see him free, because he's a very professional reporter, and I think the community needs him," La Prensa Latina reporter Rafael Figueroa said.

Figueroa said he and Duran were reporting on the demonstration when Duran was arrested.

"He was doing his job. When I saw the situation, I was thinking to myself, it could have been me," Figueroa said.

Duran's attorney said Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials were in court Thursday and took him away as soon as his case was dismissed.

She said it's unclear where he'll be taken next.

Duran's attorney also said the judge will decide on a case-by-case basis what happens to the other eight demonstrators arrested Tuesday.

Spokespersons from Comunidades Unidas en Una Voz, Detention Watch Network and the Tennessee Immigrants Rights Coalition say thousands of activists, including 130 organizations and local businesses, emailed and called officials, which resulted in Duran's charges being dropped.

Now, they're calling for his release from ICE custody. 

Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus, Policy Director at TIRRC:

“It is unacceptable and un-American for a journalist to be arrested for doing his job. While we’re grateful that the all charges were dropped, we’re deeply outraged and disappointed by the role of local law enforcement in facilitating the possible deportation of a local journalist. Sheriff Bill Oldham did not have to honor the voluntary request made by immigration agents, and could have chosen to release Manuel when all charges were dropped and he had paid his bond. Now, Manuel faces the threat of deportation and separation from his family, simply for doing his job. We won’t stop fighting for Manuel.”

Ivan Flores at CUUV:

"We believe this is also retaliation against a journalist who has brought to light issues between local enforcement agencies and the immigrant community in Memphis. The decision of the Shelby County Sheriff to collaborate with Trump's ICE agency is a clear example of how the detention and deportation machinery functions in the Mid-South."

Gabriela Marquez-Benitez at DWN:

“Our community is watching and we demand that ICE release Manuel immediately. Although Shelby County Mayor, Mark Lutrell and Sheriff Bill Oldham have publically denied any collaboration with ICE, Manuel’s transfer to ICE custody today proves the opposite. This clearly shows that Shelby County local officials are complicit with and are working hand-in-hand with ICE, a government agency that has a track-record of egregious human rights abuses.”

Unfortunately, Manuel’s arrest is not unique. It is part of a growing national pattern of ICE targeting people perceived to be political opponents. Every American of good conscience should be deeply alarmed at this attack on fundamental rights."

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