A Black man says he was racially profiled by ICE agents while out for a run in Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood. Now, the ACLU has taken on Bena Apreala’s case and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wants federal authorities to look into it.
Apreala, 29, was running on the VFW Parkway when he was stopped. “They hopped out, at least one was armed, they had on tactical vests and driving huge unmarked cars,” Apreala told CBS Boston. “Nobody was helping me. I was by myself and anything could have happened to me.”
Apreala took out his cell phone and began filming the encounter. He said none of the three men who stopped him identified themselves, and one had an ICE patch on his shirt, CBS Boston reports. They told Apreala that he matched the description of someone they were looking for, he said.
“They asked me what are you doing around here, where are you from, what are your whereabouts, why are you jogging down here,” Apreala said. The video shows the agents asking Apreala if they could examine his tattoos, which he refused.
Apreala told CBS Boston he felt targeted and that he was left shaken. “I was extremely nervous in light of everything going on in the nation,” he said.
“I was absolutely being racially profiled, no question about it,” Apreala continued. “People were jogging up and down the Parkway and I was the only one stopped and accosted.”
Local politicians, including Mayor Walsh, were outraged by the incident. Walsh reached out to Apreala and has asked the police department to contact federal authorities to look into the case, CBS Boston reports.
“It was a disturbing video to watch. It was unacceptable in so many ways,” Walsh said at a news conference on Wednesday. “Incidents like this have no place in our city, have no place for this in our country.”
“It causes real pain and fear and concern,” he continued. “Violating someone’s rights just because of the color of their skin is always unacceptable.”
Rahsaan Hall, director of the Racial Justice Program at the ACLU, said in a statement to CBS Boston, “This incident raises serious constitutional questions and is disturbing on a human level.”
CBS News has reached out to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is awaiting response.
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