The arrest of four people Tuesday on Tucson's south side is sparking outrage on social media.
A video of the incident, which started with a traffic stop near the intersection of West 22nd Street and South Ninth Avenue and ended with immigration-related arrests, was posted on Facebook. It has had nearly 16,000 views since Tuesday afternoon. And more than 100 people have donated to an online fundraising campaign for the family that has raised about $4,000.
A state trooper conducted a vehicle stop and requested assistance from the Border Patrol, according to a statement from the federal agency's Tucson Sector. Border Patrol agents arrested three people on suspicion of being in the country illegally and one person on suspicion of impeding an investigation.
The video shows a Border Patrol agent putting a man, woman, and girl in the holding compartment of an agency vehicle. Moments later, a man lied down underneath the vehicle in an apparent effort to stop the agent from driving away. A passer-by yelled at the man to get out from under the vehicle.
The Border Patrol did not release the names of those arrested.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety has not responded to an inquiry yesterday afternoon from the Arizona Daily Star.
Immigrant-rights activists in Tucson issued a news release demanding the release of the family. The family has lived in Tucson for more than 11 years and have two other children, aged 10 and 6.
Alison Harrington, the pastor at nearby Southside Presbyterian Church, was leaving the church when she saw the arrests yesterday, she said. She described the scene as "heartbreaking" and "horrific."
The 12-year-old girl was distraught and vomited during the arrest, Harrington said. Family and friends were nearby, but the Border Patrol agent would not release the girl to their custody.
When Border Patrol agents arrived at the scene, they encountered a crowd that impeded their investigation, according to the statement from the Border Patrol. Tucson police and Pima County sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene and the crowd "dispersed peacefully."
"We were requested to assist on a traffic stop that DPS initiated and asked for BP to respond. Our officers had no action in the situation," according to a statement from Officer Francisco Magos, a spokesman for the Tucson Police Department.