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Mass. Lawmakers Seek Answers After ICE Agents Stopped Runner In Boston

BOSTON (CBS) - After 29-year-old Bena Apreala was stopped by ICE agents earlier this week in West Roxbury, Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren and Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Stephen Lynch are demanding answers.

On Tuesday morning, Apreala was approached by Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents while jogging on the VFW Parkway. Apreala, a Black man, recorded the entire exchange on his cell phone, where the men said he matched the description of someone they were looking for.

One of the three man had an ICE patch on his shirt.

west roxbury jogger
(Image credit: Bena Apreala)

On Apreala's cell phone video, the agents can be heard asking him if they could examine his tattoos, which he refused. Apreala later told WBZ-TV, "I was by myself and anything could have happened to me."

In a joint statement, Markey, Warren, Pressley and Lynch are requesting answers to seven separate questions pertaining to the incident. They ask if the officers "proactively" identified themselves as ICE officers, if there have been others stopped and detained in Boston within the last six months, and why they asked Apreala if he had tattoos.

"Interactions such as the one Mr. Apreala experienced with ICE agents raise serious questions about the violation of individual constitutional rights and law enforcement's targeting and harassing individuals based on race," wrote the Massachusetts lawmakers. "More broadly, these incidents heighten suspicion of and erode faith in law enforcement throughout the community."

Bena Apreala
Bena Apreala (WBZ-TV)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh called the encounter "disturbing" on Tuesday. "It was unacceptable in so many ways," Walsh said in his Tuesday press conference. "Incidents like this have no place in our city, no place for this in our country."

The ACLU has now taken up Apreala's case.

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