Protest Outside Dartmouth Jail over Sheriff’s Agreement with ICE
DARTMOUTH — The third protest in less than a year took place outside the Bristol County Jail and House of Correction on Saturday as the organized protest group, the FANG Collective, brought a large crowd sporting signs, chants, and even tubas.
Unlike the previous protest by the group in August, which saw the arrest of four protestors who chained themselves to the gates of the correctional facility, the Saturday demonstration remained peaceful and without arrest. The Bristol County Sheriff’s Department, aided by State Police, provided a safety detail and directed the busy Faunce Corner Road traffic past the scene.
Jonathan Darling, Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s Department, says roughly 50 to 100 protestors arrived outside the Dartmouth jail.
“[They were] chanting, holding signs, speaking in opposition to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 287-G, they were pro-illegal immigration, that sort of thing,” Darling said.
“They actually brought some musical instruments with them. They were chanting and singing, holding signs, holding posters. They had a speaking portion where they spoke out about ICE and deportations and things like that.”
Organizers from the FANG Collective say they arrived to protest the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department’s cooperation with ICE, the ICE detention center located at the facility and Sheriff Tom Hodgson himself.
Most notably, organizers say they’re also protesting the charges levied by Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III on three of the four protestors arrested in the previous demonstration back in August.
During that protest, two people chained themselves by the neck with a bike lock to a fence and then cemented their arms into a car tire at "Entrance 2" of the facility. At the same time, two other protestors had hoisted themselves on top of a structure they constructed at the main entrance.
“We’re out here today protesting the 287-G Agreement that Bristol County has with the government, which allows them to act as federal agents and pick up people and hold them and ICE detention centers. There is an ICE detention center at the Bristol County House of Corrections, so we’re here protesting that. In addition, we’re also protesting Sheriff Hodgson and the conditions of the jail. We’re asking that he is investigated rather than criminalizing protestors who are here trying to bring the voices of the people inside to the public,” said Holly, a FANG Collective protest organizer who only wanted to identify by her first name.
“We would like for Sheriff Hodgson to be investigated, we would like the facility to be investigated and we would like the DA to drop the charges against protestors who are trying to bring the harsh conditions inside to the public. There’s three people going on trial from last year and we’re asking the DA to drop the charges.”
While the protest lasted for about an hour, Darling says the protest was lawful and occurred without incident.
“Nobody violated any laws at the protest, which is what we’re looking for. Everyone has the right to lawfully protest, that’s part of America. There were no arrests made, there were no incidents today. Traffic was slowed on Faunce Corner Road because there were people on both sides of Faunce Corner Road holding signs and chanting, but there were no fender-benders, there were no injuries and no incidents, so it was a lawful protest,” Darling said.
“The Sheriff is aware of the protest. He was here for the majority of the protest. He watched a lot of it. He takes it all in and listens to all feedback, whether it’s from people protesting, people emailing, people calling, we take all feedback into account and he listened to a good amount of it.”
The Fang Collective organized two protests over the summer of 2018: the protest on August 20 that saw the arrest of the four individuals, and another on July 27 that resulted in no arrests or incidents.