Police detectives investigate the shooting of a man by a federal immigration officer after a traffic stop of the pickup truck, background, in Denver Friday, June 9, 2017. Police Chief Robert White said man ran from his vehicle and had some kind of confrontation with the officers nearby before one of them officers fired at him. The man is expected to survive. (AP Photo/P. Solomon Banda)
DENVER — A federal immigration officer shot a man who fled a traffic stop Friday, grazing the man’s head, Denver police said.
Immigration agents pulled the unidentified man over in an industrial area of the city and he got out of his vehicle and ran, Police Chief Robert White said.
After the immigration officers caught up with him nearby, White said, there was a confrontation and one of the officers opened fire.
White said the man’s injuries weren’t life-threatening and was taken into custody.
Speaking soon after the shooting, White said it wasn’t clear yet whether the man was armed and what happened during the confrontation.
ICE said the officers stopped the vehicle to arrest someone who had been convicted of unlawful sexual contact.
Agency spokesman Gregory Palmore said he could not identify the person who was shot or release other details because the shooting is being investigated.
The shooting followed ICE’s denial of a request by Mayor Michael Hancock, city council members, school officials and others to refrain from arrests of immigrants near public schools, inside courthouses and other sensitive locations.
ICE also refused a request to have its agents stop wearing clothing identifying themselves in large block letters as “POLICE,” with the much smaller acronym “ICE” below.
Matthew Albence, ICE’s assistant executive director, responded in a May 25 letter that ICE agents will continue to identify themselves as “police,” as well as “ICE,” so that they are recognizable as law enforcement authority.
Albence said the agency is abiding by a 2011 memo which urges caution in sensitive locations such as schools, courthouses, places of worship and hospitals.
Hancock’s office issued a statement saying the city “fundamentally disagrees with ICE’s approach to enforcement in and around our courthouses,” which it said is “causing fear in the heart of our immigrant community and … deterring people from cooperating in our local judicial system.”
A January report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General shows ICE officers used force 95 times in the fiscal year ending in 2015.
Six of those incidents were classified as “lethal,” meaning they involved techniques such as discharging a firearm or striking someone in the neck. The report doesn’t specify further what happened in each case.