On a crowded night at Klondike Mike’s Saloon in Palmer last summer, Alex Caceda was helping some friends by providing security to the rear door of the bar. A fight broke out when several male patrons began attacking a female bartender. When Alex interceded, three men brutally attacked him, punching him to the ground, kicking him in the head multiple times, and blinding him for several hours. When the Palmer Police arrived, they placed the three attackers in handcuffs and then singled Alex out for questioning on his country of origin. Upon learning that Alex was from Peru, the Palmer Police officers called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who instructed the officers to arrest Alex. As Defendant Muilenberg handcuffed Alex and placed him in the back of her police cruiser, he peered out the window to see his three assailants being released from handcuffs and set free. Alex, who has never been charged with a crime and has no criminal history, was detained for four days and ultimately—when ICE took custody of him—was released without bond to pursue his green card.
Local police departments, including the Palmer Police, have no authority under state or federal law to arrest for civil immigration violations. Courts around the country have recognized that local police do not gain legal authority to arrest merely because ICE asks them to enforce civil immigration law. Arresting Alex without probable cause of a crime or any other legal authority violates the Alaska Constitution’s prohibition on unreasonable seizures. Alaska Constitution, Article 1, Section 14.
Video of the incident and explaining the lawsuit: https://youtu.be/l3FcgW78EHU
Raw video of bodycam and interview footage: https://vimeo.com/259804030/e4b79e1f39
Picture of Alex Caceda: https://www.acluak.org/sites/default/files/alex1.jpg