Report alleges detainee abuse at Dartmouth immigration detention center

Jun 28, 2018

A detainee at the Bristol County Sheriff's Office's immigration detention facility allegedly faced racist taunts from officers and intimidation for reporting the abuse while in custody.

The claims are included in a detailed report of alleged hate or bias-motivated incidents at 34 Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities since January 2017. The report was prepared by Freedom For Immigrants, a non-profit organization which aims to end the practice of immigration detention, according to the organization's website.

In an incident detailed in the report, a detainee at the Faunce Corner Road detention facility, only identified as C.R., alleged an officer asked him to participate in a fight against another detainee so the officer could bet on who would win. When C.R. refused and attempted to file a complaint, the officer allegedly said “no one will believe baboon complaints.”

The officer then allegedly denied the detainee hygiene products and his food was thrown away as retaliation, and the officer encouraged other officers to “rattle his cage” and continue to refer to the detainee as a “baboon” and “gorilla.”

The Dartmouth facility has a maximum capacity of 220 detainees. The facility holds detainees involved in deportation proceedings.

Freedom For Immigrants said it counted three incidents at the site by reviewing Department of Homeland Security records, however it discovered 15 through its own investigation. Overall, the report identified more than 800 incidents throughout the country.

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said this was the first his office had heard about any incident of this type at the facility. He said the information has been forwarded to the sheriff's office's internal affairs department for further investigation.

He said the facility does have a grievance process detainees can use to report incidents of mistreatment, which are investigated by internal affairs.