A man arrested by ICE agents as he was being released from the Arapahoe County Detention Center in Centennial in a now-viral video was initially jailed for failure to appear on a years-old traffic …
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A man arrested by ICE agents as he was being released from the Arapahoe County Detention Center in Centennial in a now-viral video was initially jailed for failure to appear on a years-old traffic citation, according to officials.
Kevin Avila-Gonzalez, 25, can be seen in the video begging to stay in jail as plainclothes agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement struggle to detain him, saying that gangs will kill him if he is deported back to Honduras.
The video was shot in the jail lobby the evening of June 16 by Elisabeth Epps, co-lead of the Denver Justice Project. The group's Facebook page says it seeks to "transform law enforcement, end mass incarceration, and seek racial justice in Denver." Epps was at the jail to post bond for low-level male suspects ahead of Father's Day.
Epps' initial video showed the arrest of two men. A shortened version, showing only the arrest of Avila-Gonzalez, posted by the “NowThis Politics” page on Facebook, had more than 50,000 shares as of June 22.
Epps declined to comment for this article. ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok declined to identify the other man in the video.
Avila-Gonzalez was arrested as he was released from the jail, and was initially booked for failing to appear for a court date stemming from a February 2015 traffic stop in which he was charged with careless driving, driving without a license and failure to show insurance.
Avila-Gonzalez pleaded guilty in 2015 to felony possession of drugs with the intent to distribute, according to court records. He has been deported to Honduras five times since 2011, Rusnok said.
The Arapahoe County Detention Center provides a daily list of inmates to ICE, said county spokeswoman Julie Brooks, and informs them when inmates will be released.
The number of inmates arrested by ICE at the jail is unknown because many arrests happen out front and aren't tracked by jail staff, Brooks said.
ICE agents acted appropriately during the arrest, said ICE Denver Field Office Director Jeffrey Lynch in an email statement.
"After having carefully reviewed the video of the arrest of Avila-Gonzalez, it is clearly evident that our ICE federal officers acted extremely professionally to make this lawful arrest of a five-time-deported criminal alien, even though he physically and actively resisted arrest," Lynch said. "I'm proud of my officers — though not surprised — that they acted so professionally despite Avila-Gonzalez's provocation to violence."
Avila-Gonzalez remains in ICE custody pending his sixth deportation to Honduras, Rusnok said.
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