RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The executive director of an advocacy organization has been charged with misdemeanor offenses for protesting in Virginia on the property of the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, authorities said.
Acting ICE Director Tony Pham was not home Sept. 8 when a group of protesters dumped trash on his yard in Henrico County and “caused fear to his family,” Henrico County police Lt. Matt Pecka said in a news release Monday.
A police investigation identified Nancy Nguyen, the executive director of VietLead, a political advocacy group in Philadelphia and New Jersey, as one of those protesters, news outlets reported. The organization said in a Facebook post Friday that the protest was about Pham’s recent appointment to the role.
They said Nguyen was arrested on “bogus charges” Thursday night in her Philadelphia home. She was then released Friday on her own recognizance, and greeted by hugs and cheers from supporters outside Philadelphia’s police headquarters, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“While protesting is a protected First Amendment activity, doing so on one’s private property is illegal,” Pecka said, adding that police are working to identify the other protesters.
Meanwhile, VietLead has called Nguyen’s arrest a politically motivated “scare tactic to intimidate immigration rights advocates.”
She was charged with entering the property of another for the purposes of interfering with property rights and dumping trash, according to Pecka. It was not immediately clear if she had an attorney who could comment on her behalf.