Statement from U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Regarding an incident that occurred on June 26, 2018, Kansas City attorney Andrea Martinez filed a complaint alleging unlawful use of force by Everett Chase, a supervisory officer with the Bureau of Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO). The incident occurred during routine operations to remove an unlawfully-present Honduran national who had been released pending asylum proceedings, but was ordered removed when she failed to appear for a scheduled hearing. The incident received widespread publicity at the time it occurred, in large part due to Ms. Martinez’s allegations and the presence of media—including a Netflix film crew—she invited to ICE’s office, and dozens of protestors, some of whom shouted obscenities at the officers, and at least one of whom threw trash at the officers as they escorted the Honduran national’s family into the office.
Although the U.S. Attorney’s Office typically does not comment upon investigations unless or until charges are publicly filed, I am making an exception to that policy in this instance. I recognize the legitimate public interest in the conduct of law enforcement officers engaged in their official duties, as well as the necessity of law enforcement officers to maintain public respect and credibility in order to accomplish their mission. The Department of Justice takes such allegations seriously, and this office will prosecute—and has prosecuted—such cases when the evidence establishes a violation of federal law.
In response to the allegation, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General conducted an investigation. Having reviewed the investigation and considered the available evidence, and after consultation with career federal prosecutors, I have determined that the evidence does not support the allegations made against the ICE-ERO officer, and have formally declined to file charges for actions taken in the exercise of his official duties. In light of circumstances created by more than 30 people who came to a routine law enforcement operation at 3 a.m. for the purpose of making a spectacle, the officer’s actions were justified in order to secure and control access to the ICE office entrance from unauthorized persons.