A guard at the Northwest Detention Center on Tacoma’s Tideflats watched a detainee draw on a sleeping bunkmate’s back Friday morning, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The detainee’s lack of cooperation, as well as the behaviors of others in his residence unit, led guards at the privately operated facility to enter a lockdown, according to a statement from ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice.
“After the offending detainee refused multiple commands to leave the unit with the officer, guards were required to remove him using minimal force,” Kice wrote.
According to Kice, the other detainees refused to return to their bunks, started destroying property, tampering with security cameras and flooding the unit with toilet water.
Kice wrote that the lockdown, which included turning off phones and power to the unit, lasted until the detainees in the unit complied during the afternoon.
The Northwest Detention Center, the region’s largest immigration detention facility, is owned by the Florida-based for-profit Geo Group.
Kice wrote that all use-of-force incidents by ICE officers or contracted personnel are reviewed to make sure all actions are within the agency’s policies.
“In the case of this incident, the related review has been completed and it was determined that the proper policies and procedures were followed,” Kice wrote.
Immigration rights advocates say the detainees were vocally protesting the physical treatment of the detainee, which led guards to punitively turn off the lights and phones.
Advocates from the NWDC Resistance went to the detention center to protest Friday. They said in a news release that the entire facility was locked down, which meant that family members who had driven from hours away were denied visitation.