ICE protester at NJ jail accused of attacking, threatening cops
HACKENSACK — A protester outside the Bergen County Jail was charged with trespassing, assault and drug charges on Tuesday after threatening to kill sheriff's officers, according to Sheriff Anthony Cureton.
During what Cureton described as a peaceful protest outside the facility, Amanda Torres, 26, of Queens, refused to comply with orders not to cross barricades at the entrance. Torres instead jumped on the barrier and screamed she was a boxer and would "f**k all y'all up," according to Cureton.
She paced back and forth using profanity against officers and was warned that if she crossed the barricade again she would be arrested, Cureton said. As officers walked away, she crossed the barrier, he said.
Torres kicked officers as she refused to be handcuffed, according to Cureton. Police said she had marijuana, cocaine and drug paraphernalia.
Anti-ICE activists have protested outside the jail daily in recent weeks as ICE detainees participated in a hunger strike over jail conditions during the pandemic.
The activists have been protesting the Democratic-led freeholder boards in Hudson and Bergen counties for renewing immigration detention agreements with ICE, which uses the jails to house detainees. Some Democratic leaders have described the demonstrators as far-left rabble-rousers and have defended the treatment that ICE detainees receive at the local facilities.
A protest turned violent on Dec. 12 when demonstrators moved barricades, threw bricks, spit, sprayed officers with pepper spray and bit two officers, according to Cureton.
The advocacy group Pax Christi told The Jersey Journal that a hunger strike at the Hudson County Jail by 28 ICE detainees is on hold but that the detainees want a meeting with ICE officials.
ICE officials and a spokesman for the jail told New Jersey 101.5 on Tuesday there was no hunger strike.
ICE-ERO on Thursday said in a written statement that "officials at Hudson regularly communicate with detainees regarding any issues or concerns, but this does not include any planned discussions related to hunger strikes as that has not been an issue at Hudson."
Torres was charged with criminal trespass-defiant trespasser, obstruction of administration of law disorderly conduct, aggravated assault on a police officer, possession of controlled dangerous substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
There were 12-15 protesters at the entrance to the jail at the time of Torres' arrest, according to Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Keisha McLean.
Torres was also arrested on assault and drug charges in New York recently, according to the sheriff.
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier headline for this story should have said that police accused the suspect of attacking and threatening officers.