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NEW YORK (AP) — The mayor says New York City will investigate whether police responded correctly at a protest over the detention of a prominent immigration activist.

Bill de Blasio said Friday on WNYC that the federal government’s “abrupt and provocative” decision to detain a “highly respected individual” caused the man’s supporters to react with “real passion.”

The Democratic mayor says the resulting chain of events added “an unexpected and challenging dynamic” to what otherwise might have been a pro-forma expression of civil disobedience. But he praised officers’ overall handling of protests.

Eighteen people, including two councilmen, were arrested Thursday after Ravi Ragbir was removed in handcuffs during his scheduled check-in. The citizen of Trinidad has been fighting deportation after a fraud conviction.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement says Ragbir has “exhausted his petitions and appeals.”