The United State’s Attorney’s office has declined to file charges against an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent accused of assaulting a Platte County attorney near KCI Airport last summer.
On Thursday, Jan. 31, a statement was issued from U.S. Attorney Timothy Garrison regarding the incident involving attorney Andrea Martinez — a Platte City native and daughter of well-known travel agents Mark and Mimi Comfort —that occurred June 26, 2018.
ICE officer Everett Chase was accused of unlawful use of force against Martinez during the reunion and removal of a pregnant Honduran woman and her 3-year-old son — Kenia and Noah Bautista-Mayorga. The family entered the United States seeking asylum in 2016 because Kenia Bautista-Mayorga feared abuse from her husband in Honduras.
Martinez was there representing Noah Bautista-Mayorga. The case had already attracted media attention when Kenia Bautista-Mayorga became one of the first pregnant women detained by ICE. She spent about a month in the Platte County Detention Center before her deportation.
“The incident received widespread publicity at the time it occurred, in large part due to Ms. Martinez’s allegations and the presence of media — including a Netflix film crew — she invited to ICE’s office, and dozens of protestors, some of whom shouted obscenities at the officers, and at least one of whom threw trash at the officers as they escorted the Honduran national’s family into the office,” Garrison said in the statement.
The incidents made national media headlines, and as such Garrison said warranted public comment from the U.S. Attorney’s office. Garrison said after an investigation that “the evidence does not support the allegations made.”
Video captured by several bystanders appeared on social media just after the incident, which occurred at about 3:30 a.m. June 26. With a light rain falling, Martinez, her law partner Megan Galicia, Noah Bautista-Mayorga and his step-father Luis Diaz-Inestroza arrived at the ICE removal office. About 30 protestors and several media outlets were also there, including a documentary crew associated with Netflix, which had been covering the case.
“We planned to meet in the parking lot,” Martinez told The Citizen just hours after the incident. Shortly before their arrival, Martinez said she received a call from ICE changing the plan. “We were told we have to come inside.”
In the parking lot, Chase began to escort the boy and his stepfather inside the building. Martinez said she and Galicia followed, as did the documentary crew.
What happened at the door was filmed by the crew, and several other bystanders and protestors.
“I was following him inside when he turned around and pushed me,” Martinez said. She and Galicia fell onto the wet concrete sidewalk, with Martinez rolling her right ankle in the heels she wore and scraping her other leg.
In the video, Chase can be seen locking the door and going inside, but after a few moments he turns and comes back to the door. The witnessing crowd can be heard reacting in the video and Martinez shouted at the closed door. Chase unlocked the door and allowed only Martinez inside.
“In light of circumstances created by more than 30 people who came to a routine law enforcement operation at 3 a.m. for the purpose of making a spectacle, the officer’s actions were justified in order to secure and control access to the ICE office entrance from unauthorized persons,” Garrison said.
Once she was inside the ICE facility, Martinez said she was denied access to medical attention for about 40 minutes and once taken to St. Luke’s North by ambulance was diagnosed with a cracked metatarsal bone and several lacerations.