A routine traffic stop in Tucson, AZ erupted into an impromptu Border Patrol protest Tuesday night, ending with police pepper-spraying a crowd of more than 100 people and taking two undocumented immigrants into custody.
Police noticed a passing car’s license plate light was out and stopped the vehicle. The driver and passenger told the officer they did not have driver’s licenses or any identification, so police called in Border Patrol to do an immigration check, as Arizona’s draconian immigration law, SB 1070, mandates. A crowd, many from the pro-immigration congregation of nearby Southside Presbyterian Church, amassed quickly. They joined hands and encircled the Border Patrol truck to keep agents from taking the two undocumented immigrants away.
According to multiple accounts, police pepper-sprayed the crowd in order to make them disperse. One woman interviewed by local ABC channel KGUN9 recounted how a female police officer sprayed her from “less than two feet away from me, and she sprayed my face dead on in my eyes for about a good 4 to 5 seconds. And then again too. So there was rough-housing, there was pushing people to the ground.”
Watch a video of the protest:
Police said they were just following orders according to SB 1070, and ultimately took the driver and the passenger into custody.