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Manhattan councilman pleads guilty to disorderly conduct in protest case involving Trinidadian immigrant activist

City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, center, leaves Manhattan Criminal Court Wednesday with fellow Councilman Jumaane Williams, second from left, and immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir, right. Photo by Bill Alatriste/New York City Council City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, center, leaves Manhattan Criminal Court Wednesday with fellow Councilman Jumaane Williams, second from left, and immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir, right. Photo by Bill Alatriste/New York City Council
MANHATTAN, NY — City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct Wednesday after his arrest last month at a protest supporting Trinidadian immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir.

The Inwood Democrat was one of 18 people arrested Jan. 11 outside the Jacob K. Javits Federal Building as hundreds of people rallied against Ragbir's arrest by immigration authorities.

Rodriguez said he admitted to disorderly conduct, a violation, to avoid a protracted trial and "ensure all my energy is focused on unapologetically fighting for immigrants." The guilty plea resolved other misdemeanor charges against Rodriguez of resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and obstructing emergency medical services, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said.

"This act of non-violent protest was done because the United States of America is a country for and by immigrants," Rodriguez said in a statement. "This act of non-violent protest was done in resistance to the bigoted rhetoric peddled by the right wing that is intent on tearing our country apart and denying our immigrant history."

Rodriguez and others were arrested for sitting in front of an ambulance that was trying to take Ragbir to a hospital after he briefly fainted inside the federal building. Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) was also arrested that day.

Williams is due in court March 13 for an appearance on charges of disorderly conduct and obstructing emergency medical services.

Rodriguez has been a vocal ally of Ragbir, whom Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials sought to deport to Trinidad and Tobago because of his 2000 wire fraud. ICE put a stay on his deportation earlier this month as lawsuits surrounding his case wend their way through New York and New Jersey courts.

Ragbir, the executive director of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, which aims to protect immigrants from deportation, accompanied Rodriguez to court Wednesday. On Friday evening Ragbir is set to visit Amanda Morales-Guerra, an undocumented immigrant who's taken refuge from ICE at Holyrood Episcopal Church in Washington Heights.

Ragbir and Rodriguez have spoken out against ICE's recent immigration crackdown and accused the agency of targeting activists, a charge ICE flatly denies. ICE says Ragbir lacks a legal basis to remain in the U.S. because past appeals of his deportation have been unsuccessful.

Last modified onFriday, 02 March 2018 14:04
  • Countries: Trinidad_Tobago

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