WXXI AM News

Geneseo Police Chief gives response on immigration arrest

Mar 24, 2017

The Police Chief in the Village of Geneseo, Eric Osganian, issued this explanation on Friday of a traffic stop in Geneseo Thursday night that eventually led to a protest outside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office in Irondequoit:

"Our officer stopped a car for speeding on South Street last night around 6:15pm. The vehicle pulled over on the By-Pass (Route 942D). He had difficulty identifying the driver of the vehicle. The female driver and the adult female passenger spoke no English. The driver had a Guatemala passport. There was not a license driver in the car. A child in the car was assisting with communication between the officer and the driver. They did not own or were the registered owner of the vehicle they were driving. There were also two children in the rear seats that were not restrained by a child safety seat, per NYS law. A total of 5 children were in the vehicle and 2 adults. The officer checked our state computer system, which did not provide any information on the driver. He called Border Patrol to confirm the passport and assist in identification of the driver. We are not experts in these types of documents, as Border Patrol is. Border Patrol has been our resource in assisting us with this. The call was not made as an immigration purpose, solely for identification purposes. We request the services of other agencies to assist us. Just like we call Child Protective Services to assist in child abuse cases. We call the Secret Service on identification of counterfeit bills. We call the FBI on fraud cases. We call the DMV with fake driver's licenses. The list goes on.

Border Patrol did respond to Geneseo. A group formed by the traffic stop and was protesting the calling of Border Patrol. This led to a more dangerous situation, because we don't want people on the side of the road at night. Border Patrol transported the individuals to their facility. We were not involved in any transportation of the individuals. Our purpose in calling Border Patrol was to confirm the identity of the driver. Any transportation/detention for immigration status was done by Border Patrol.

For people that are concerned that we are “rounding” up people and doing “raids” are all completely not true. We have never done any of those activities here and we have no plans to do them. The officer was following thru trying to identify the driver and called Border Patrol for assistance. If there was a valid licensed driver, driving the vehicle, there would have been no need to call Border Patrol to confirm the ID of the driver."

Here is our earlier story:

There are reports that at least two protesters were arrested after a demonstration outside the U.S. Border Patrol offices in Irondequoit overnight.

Media reports say that a mother and several children were initially taken into custody in Geneseo, and that most of the children were later released.

An advocacy organization called the Worker Justice Center of NY says that police had called the border patrol after a routine traffic stop.

Protesters told Spectrum News that  several women and six children were on their way to church in Geneseo when they were taken into custody and brought to the border patrol facility.

Family members say that all but one child was released to them.  The organization Metro Justice says four of the five children are United States citizens.

The Democrat&Chronicle reported that early Friday morning, one of the women and her 12 year old were still being detained.

Dozens of protesters rallied from Thursday night into early Friday morning.The Worker Justice Center had already planned a rally for 5pm Friday at the Federal Building in Rochester to protest the detention of five local farmworkers, and organizers are expected to bring up the Geneseo incident at Friday’s rally.