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Bristol County Sheriff’s Office accused of illegally detaining immigrants



Boston, MA – Today, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice and Latham and Watkins LLP filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court in Boston against Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson and the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office for what has been described as their illegal detention of immigrants. The Complaint charges that Sheriff Hodgson has encouraged and condoned his employees to detain immigrants when there is no legal basis to do so.

Moises Rivas, the plaintiff in the case filed today, was imprisoned without legal basis in Bristol County from August 18, 2017 to September 5, 2017 according to the group.

The lawsuit states that Rivas was initially held on a minor-nonviolent charge one year earlier. Eventually his family came up with the money to pay his bail and sought Rivas’ release, but the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office continued to hold Rivas citing immigration documents. The group alleges that Rivas was held solely because of his immigration status, and once he was detained he suffered mockery on account of his race and immigration status.

The Complaint cites numerous racist and anti-immigrant statements alleged by Sheriff Hodgson, including volunteering to send Bristol County inmates to the border to build President Trump’s border wall, and charges that these statements have encouraged and condoned Sheriff’s Office employees to illegally detain immigrants.

Last year the Lawyers’ Committee successfully brought suit to force Hodgson to release public records that he was withholding regarding the Sheriff’s Office’s attempts to enforce federal immigration law.

The federal complaint filed today seeks damages for Rivas, as well as a court declaration that his detention was improper and in violation of federal and state law.

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