Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested a Portland immigrant at the Cumberland County Superior Courthouse Thursday morning, in what is believed to be the first action of its kind in Maine.
Attorney Tina Nadeau told necn her client, Abdi Ali, an asylum seeker from Somalia, was arrested in the hallway of the courthouse shortly after his court appearance for an OUI charge.
Nadeau said she was having a private meeting with her client in an office in the courthouse, when a "burly man" who did not immediately identify himself walked into the room. When she asked why he was there, the man allegedly told her he was there for Ali, and was an ICE agent.
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Nadeau said she asked the man to leave, and Ali became scared. After the two of them left the office, Nadeau said her client was thrown against the wall by three ICE agents and handcuffed.
According to court liaison Mary Ann Lynch, this may be the first time ICE agents have made an arrest inside a Maine courthouse. Lynch said the judicial branch does not have a policy about these kinds of arrests, but added that Maine State Police and local police have made arrests inside courthouses before.
Nadeau agreed that this is the first time she has heard of an ICE arrest inside a Maine courthouse.
"We’re all in shock right now," she said.
Ali is being held at the Cumberland County Jail. A spokesperson for ICE was not available for comment Thursday afternoon.