The corrections officer who allegedly drove into a crowd of ICE protesters in Rhode Island has been placed on leave.
Representatives from the Wyatt Detention Center told NBC Boston that Capt. Thomas Woodworth, the man believed to be the driver of the vehicle, has been placed on leave as the state police investigate what transpired.
Video of the incident caught by protesters shows a man in uniform driving a pick-up truck into a crowd of demonstrators, slowing down, and then driving through the human-chain the protesters had formed in the parking lot of the facility on Wednesday night.
The protest, organized by Never Again Action, a growing movement of Jewish organizers calling for the end of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention, was the second time the group had protested outside the privately-run facility in Central Falls that houses migrants.
On Thursday, the Rhode Island attorney general’s office said in a statement that it is working with Rhode Island State Police to investigate the event.
“Peaceful protest is a fundamental right of all Americans,” the attorney general’s office said. “It is unfortunate last night’s situation unfolded as it did.” Rhode Island State Police did not immediately return NBC News’ request for comment.
Wyatt Detention Facility Warden Daniel Martin added that his office is investigating the incident and looking at how the facility responds to protest, NBC Boston reports.
The activists at the scene described the incident as “terrifying.”
“He just started barreling through a line of people,” Amy Anthony, a spokesperson for Never Again Action, told NBC News on Thursday. She believes the officer was “intentionally aiming” for the protesters.
Several people were injured Wednesday night, and a few people were brought to a local hospital. Video of the incident shows guards from the detention center pepper-spraying the crowd after the truck drove through the peaceful protest.
“He showed no hesitation and a complete disregard for human life,” Anthony said.