U.S.

Father Of Three Handed Over To ICE After Calling 911 For Help Sues Police Officers Who Arrested Him

A father of three who was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents after calling 911 for help has launched a lawsuit against the officers who arrested him, as well as the city of Tukwila in Washington state. 

Wilson Rodriguez Macarreno's lawsuit alleges officers overstepped their authority in handing him over to ICE after he called police to report an attempted break-in at his home in early February. 

Officers found someone on Rodriguez Macarreno's property, but let that them go, arresting him instead. Rodriguez Macarreno, who was born in Honduras and came to the U.S. in 2004, was detained after officers noticed there was an outstanding administrative warrant issued by ICE under his name.

wilson-r Wilson Rodriguez Macarreno is facing deportation after living in the United States for 12 years and having three U.S.-born children LUIS CORTES

Despite local law enforcement officers not being required to act on ICE's warrants and the Tukwila Police Department having a longstanding practice of not getting involved with federal immigration orders, the officers went out of their way to transport Rodriguez Macarreno to ICE's Seattle Field Office.

The Tukwila Police Department said in a statement that the officers had mistaken ICE's warrant for a judicial one, however, and believed they had to carry out the arrest on behalf of federal officers. 

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday by the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) seeks damages, as well as changes to the city's policy policy to make clear what local law enforcement's role is when it comes to undocumented immigrants. 

“This type of police involvement in immigration matters sends a message that the police are not there to serve and protect the entire community,” Matt Adams, Legal Director for NWIRP, said in a statement. 

Read more: Police Who Help ICE Detain Undocumented Immigrants Could Be 'Breaking Fourth Amendment,' Experts Say

Rodriguez Macarreno is still in ICE custody separated from his family, including three-year-old twins and a one-year-old baby, according to NWIRP. 

Recently released police body camera footage from the night of Rodriguez Macarreno's arrest shows the father telling officers he is an undocumented immigrant. 

"I want to be honest with you, I'm illegal," he says, tearfully, adding: "I pay everything" and "I am working hard every day."

Later, one of the officers says, "I really appreciate your honesty," to which Rodriguez Macarreno, who had been working as a carpenter, replies, "I like to be honest. I'm a good guy." He also explains that "it's very hard to get a visa."

The footage continues to show the officers taking the father of three through ICE's Seattle Field Office, with one officer telling agents they were able to locate a "trespasser" on Rodriguez Macarreno's property, but "kicked the other guy loose," doing a background check on him instead.

“The saddest thing," Adams said, "is that a hardworking member of the community is now indefinitely separated from his family, including his three small children, not because of a crime, but because he sought help from the police." 

Tukwila police said last month their department has "worked tirelessly over the past several years to develop and maintain relations" with the city's "large immigrant and refugee population." The department said it planned to review its policies "and "ensure we are within the best practices for the region in dealing with these types of warrants moving forward."