Aug 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Video of ICE agent putting foot on neck of migrant released as part of lawsuit

Editor's note: The footage above contains graphic images that may be disturbing.

A video released Friday in a federal civil court case showed an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent with his foot on the neck of a migrant during a raid in 2018, NBC News reports.

The big picture: The video was released due to a lawsuit filed by nearly 100 migrants over a raid in Tennessee during the Trump administration in 2018, per the Tennessee Lookout. The migrants allege that their civil rights were violated due to the use of excessive force.

Details: The video shows two ICE agents tackling a migrant man, who was not named in the lawsuit. After bringing him down to the ground, the two agents pull the man's arms behind him to restrain him.

  • One of the officers, who was identified as John Witsell in the court case, pushed his foot on top of the migrant's neck for 25 seconds.
  • The migrant man walks away at the end of the video.

What they're saying: ICE spokesperson Tanya Román told Axios in an emailed statement that the agency "does not tolerate misconduct" and will undergo a review of its use of force policies.

  • “While the incident in question occurred in 2018 and was addressed internally at the time, it is now the subject of litigation," Román said.
  • “No police academy anywhere would teach you to put your boot on someone’s neck unless you are fighting for your life," said former FBI official Frank Figliuzzi, per NBC News.

Worth noting: Though slightly different, the knee-to-neck move is largely banned by police departments due to the injuries that can stem from it, CNN reports. It was the same move that was used on George Floyd before his death in May 2020.

Go deeper: Police officers' immunity from lawsuits is getting a fresh look

Editor's note: This post was updated with a comment from an ICE spokesperson.

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