New details emerge in stop that led to Border Patrol arrest

Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of children in the vehicle. There were six.

A traffic stop in Geneseo Thursday evening involving two adults and several children from Guatemala led to a protest at the U.S. Border Patrol station in Irondequoit early Friday morning.

At least two people were arrested after several dozen protesters had gathered at the Pattonwood Drive station after two Guatemalan women and several children were taken into custody following a traffic stop on South Street in Geneseo.

One of the protesters arrested was identified by State Police as Philipp Birklbauer, 29, from Rochester. He was charged with second-degree reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and unlawful assembly.

Birklbauer was arraigned  Friday morning in Irondquoit Town Court and remanded to the Monroe County Jail on $5,000 cash and $10,000 bond.

State Police said the arrest was made at about 1:30 a.m. Friday. State Police said there were about 75 protesters, and one threw a wooden finial that struck a trooper in the head.

 

Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian, responding to a request for information from the Democrat and Chronicle, said an officer stopped the vehicle for speeding about 6:15 p.m. The two adults in the vehicle did not speak English. The officer had trouble getting their identification, and one of the six children in the car was helping with communication.

"The call was not made as an immigration purpose, solely for identification purposes," Osganian wrote. "We request the services of agencies to assist us."

Border Patrol Agent Corey Jones, based in the Buffalo area, said that after an agent responded on the scene, the decision was made to bring the individuals to Rochester to continue the identification process. He said it was safer for everyone than being on the side of the road at night. He said the group was transported in a passenger van. Once in Rochester, the children were fed and given toys.

The two adults are sisters.

Jones said on Friday that one woman and her 12-year-old brother were in the country illegally. They were transported to immigration officials in Buffalo and were scheduled to be released Friday.

Jones said that the woman requested that her children, who are U.S. citizens ranging from 2 months to 4 years old, be released to her sister.

No names were provided.

The driver had a Guatemalan passport but not a visa, Jones said.

Carly Fox of the Worker Justice Center of New York had said on Thursday that the vehicle was pulled over for not having enough child seats in their vehicle. Fox said there were several children in the car ages 12, 4, 2, 2, as well as 6 months and 2 months. All were taken into custody, she said.

"Very young to be locked up," Fox said. "We didn't understand why they were taking those kids into detention if their mom was authorizing that they could go with their pastor who showed up to the scene. They were on their way to church."

She said the women had visited with students earlier in the day from the State University College at Geneseo to learn English when they were pulled over by police shortly before 7 p.m. and then transported to the station in Irondequoit roughly three hours later.

In Irondequoit, a large group of protesters gathered outside the Border Patrol station. They were met by Border Patrol personnel, Irondequoit police and state troopers.

►MORE:Full statement from Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian

They blocked the main driveway out of the station a few times by sitting in the road.

They chanted, "Let them go. Let them go." They called law enforcement officials Nazis and fascists and questioned why they wanted to be officers. Most of the officers did not respond. Yellow crime scene tape and a few feet separated the two sides for most of the night.

 

"Tonight, those kids are going home without a mom … and they're crying," Fox said, adding that another rally was planned for 5 p.m. outside the Federal Building in downtown Rochester.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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