Meriden councilor continues to fight charges stemming from immigration protest

Meriden councilor continues to fight charges stemming from immigration protest



MILFORD — Nine months after he was charged with assaulting judicial marshals and inciting a riot during an immigration protest outside Meriden Superior Court, City Councilor Miguel Castro pledged Thursday to continue fighting prosecution. 

Castro has yet to enter a plea in the case stemming from an emotional protest behind the courthouse on Dec. 13 as judicial marshals transferred a New Haven man into Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for deportation.

According to state police, Castro assaulted two marshals while they were attempting to move a crowd of about 15 to 20 protestors. Castro denies the charges.

The case was transferred to Milford. After a court appearance there Thursday morning, Castro said he refuses to accept offers of a plea deal and is prepared to release video of the incident and name the marshals who accused him of assault.

“The objective has always been justice to the many families that have been subject to this type of discrimination,” Castro said. “...We can create change so we can fix the process. The prosecution started with ‘We have a smoking gun. We have something,’ and as the evidence gathered realized (they had) nothing.”

State Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, spoke on behalf of Castro. 

“I will stand with him not only today, but wherever this leads us,” Winfield said.

“We want to convey the message that no matter how long this case drags on for, we are going to continue to stand with and for Miguel,” said New Haven-based immigration advocate Kica Matos. “...And we're gonna continue to fight until justice is served.”

Alok Bhatt, an organizer for the Connecticut Immigrant Rights Alliance, said he appreciates Castro allowing his case to be a platform to highlight the issue of invididuals being separated from their families and community by immigration officials and court staff.

Castro said he will release the video and marshals names when his case has concluded. 


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