Jorge Resendez woke up Thursday morning to a phone buzzing with texts.
The U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program over the Trump Administration’s attempts to end it, giving a temporary victory to approximately 15,000 Coloradans.
Resendez went downtown to celebrate but ended the day in handcuffs.
The 32-year-old had earlier shared his experience as a DACA-recipient with the crowd and marched with hundreds to the Downtown Detention Center to protest racial profiling after the immigration rally merged with a police protest.
As rain picked up and the rally dissipated, Resendez and another friend grabbed some signs and long orange tubes that organizers had used to link arms in the street.
But as the two walked toward their cars, multiple police cars drove behind them. They were handcuffed as officers searched their backpacks, Resendez said. More police cars appeared.
He didn’t know why.
“It was a really scary moment at the beginning, being surrounded by so many cops, not knowing what would happen,” Resendez said. “What could happen to me as an immigrant … and then also not being able to explain to them that we did not participate. We didn’t know what they were detaining us for.”
Police took them to a substation off Colfax Avenue and issued citations for “obstruction equipment prohibited.”
In an email, Denver police said “those cited were observed using the equipment to block traffic. They were contacted after they left the intersection.”
Protestors had blocked traffic briefly on Colfax Avenue in front of Denver’s jail, but there was no observed police presence at the time. But Resendez said he never blocked the intersection.
The day had started as a celebration. It ended with him wondering if he was going to jail.
“I couldn’t speak for a while,” Resendez said after being released. “There was so many things running though my head.”
Other organizers rushed to help and called state Sen. Julie Gonzalez, D-Denver, to help.
“What a painful way to end such a powerful day,” Gonzalez said. “There is so much work to do to mend community trust in law enforcement.
“It’s interactions like these simple misunderstandings that really hinder efforts to actually restore that trust,” she said.
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