MPD clarifies role in ICE raids with Hispanic church members

Updated: Jul. 26, 2017 at 10:22 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Hispanic community is raising concerns after ICE agents detained undocumented immigrants across the city, mostly targeting those in gangs or criminals.

Now, the Memphis Police Director is working to calm the situation.

Wednesday night's service at Nueva Vida Church first began as praise and worship for the Hispanic community.

But shortly after, they made it clear that for the past few days they've felt targeted, racially profiled and their families are being divided.

"I understand what they're trying to do, but the answer to this is reform, not persecution because that's what it feels like," said Pastor Rolando Rostro.

Pastor Rostro claimed ICE has been detaining people without warrants.

"It's not right," Pastor Rostro said. "It's being handled in a very inappropriate way."

MPD Director Mike Rallings and many members of his staff came out to clarify what they call false information.

They set the record straight that MPD only responds to a scene when they're called by a resident or by ICE, and their role is only to investigate a crime not to enforce immigration or customs.

"Because someone wears a police uniform does not mean they're a Memphis police officer," Director Rallings said.

As the Hispanic leaders came together, they challenged each other to unite, be invoked, and be informed.

That unity message was evident when Hispanic leaders prayed for Director Rallings, his staff and the entire city.

"We're here to build relationships with all of my community," Director Rallings said.

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