EXCLUSIVE: Fairfax PD Denies FOIA Request Into Officer’s Suspension Over Illegal Alien Arrest

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Posted: Oct 03, 2019 5:25 PM
EXCLUSIVE: Fairfax PD Denies FOIA Request Into Officer’s Suspension Over Illegal Alien Arrest

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

So, by now, you must have heard about the local Virginia police officer who was suspended from patrol duty because…he contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The officer, who has not been named, was responding to a car accident on September 21. One of the people involved in the crash did not have a Virginia driver's license. It was an illegal alien. The officer saw that there was an ICE detainer warrant issued for this individual. He was given a summons and then detained until an ICE agent took him into custody. Since 2007, Fairfax County has maintained an anti-ICE, pro-illegal alien policy of not cooperating with federal immigration authorities. Now, the officer is expected to return to active duty Friday (via WaPo):

A Fairfax County police officer who was suspended for turning a driver involved in a traffic accident over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement has completed remedial training and will return to work Friday, officials said.

Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. made the announcement Wednesday as the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and conservative commentators criticized the suspension in statements and tweets, while some immigration advocates applauded Roessler.

In a tweet, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting director Ken Cuccinelli urged police officers to work with ICE despite the policies of individual departments, while National Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yoes said the officer was simply protecting his community.

[…]

The officer encountered the driver in the Groveton area of Fairfax County on Sept. 21 after responding to a traffic accident, police said. The driver did not have a driver’s license, and a search of the person’s Department of Motor Vehicles information turned up an immigration violation for failing to show up for a deportation hearing, police said.

The officer reported the driver to ICE and held the individual until an agent arrived. The driver was also issued a ticket for driving without a license.

There’s an allegation that the wife of this illegal alien contacted the police chief, which set this chain of events into motion. But to ensure we didn’t miss anything with this absurd story, Townhall decided to send a couple of FOIA requests. The one sent to Fairfax County Police Department was rejected, with records being withheld due to an “administrative investigation.”

Yet, since this was a car accident, the fire department was also dispatched. It would have its own records of the event, so we sent a FOIA request to Fairfax Fire and Rescue. We were not rejected outright but were advised that some records were HIPPA protected. Townhall is awaiting those documents that aren’t covered by HIPPA protections. A FOIA request was also delivered to ICE, but we were expecting at least a week or so to receive a response from FCPD. As with any government, federal or local, folks usually drag their feet when it comes to answering these requests. We sent our request during the late hours of October 1. We got an explanation for why the FCPD FOIA was placed under an exemption early the following morning, October 2. Townhall received an explanation for why this FOIA request was denied, but it was off the record. We’ll circle back on this.

In the meantime, let’s rehash a fact. The officer who became the target of this police chief did nothing wrong. Any law enforcement officer in Virginia can arrest illegal aliens. This officer acted within the law:

All law-enforcement officers enumerated in § 19.2-81 shall have the authority to enforce immigration laws of the United States, pursuant to the provisions of this section. Any law-enforcement officer enumerated in § 19.2-81 may, in the course of acting upon reasonable suspicion that an individual has committed or is committing a crime, arrest the individual without a warrant upon receiving confirmation from the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement of the United States Department of Homeland Security that the individual (i) is an alien illegally present in the United States, and (ii) has previously been convicted of a felony in the United States and deported or left the United States after such conviction. Upon receiving such confirmation, the officer shall take the individual forthwith before a magistrate or other issuing authority and proceed pursuant to § 19.2-82.

Marina Medvin, a lawyer based in Northern Virginia and senior columnist with Townhall, was blunt and to the point in her assessment of this situation.

“Based on the information currently known, this officer did NOT violate any law. He simply violated the liberal Chief’s sanctuary city policy and was punished for not following the Chief’s political agenda,” she said to Townhall.

“This Chief destroyed a young officer’s career in order to pursue his selfish liberal ideations. When was the last time that Fairfax County disciplined an officer for violating the rights of an American? Every time a lawyer wins a Motion to Suppress, it means that a defendant’s rights were violated. Yet, the responsible officers do not get publicly disciplined, if at all,” she added.

Medvin also noted that Fairfax County’s position on enforcing our immigration laws, and the lack thereof, is emblematic of the larger left-wing lurch on this issue many have taken, including major 2020 candidates. They’re favoring illegal aliens over American citizens.

“The message the Chief is sending to the community with this political charade is that he favors the ‘rights’ he created for illegals over the Constitutional rights that apply to us all,” said Medvin. “This is a shameful disregard for Fairfax County Americans and legal visitors.”