RICHMOND (KPIX 5) — Richmond Mayor Tom Butt toured the West Contra Costa Detention Center Thursday following reports of mistreatment of detainees, including immigrants detained by ICE.
Butt waited months to walk through the doors of the West County Detention Facility to see for himself how detainees were treated inside. The detention center has gotten attention because it has become a holding facility for undocumented immigrants.
“I haven’t been here since this facility opened maybe 25, 30 years ago,” said Butt.
Butt said he wanted to see the place where alleged mistreatment and abuse was happening in his city. He said that what he saw was different depending on whether he was speaking to a male or female inmate. The men said if they had to be detained, they preferred to be here. As for the women, “Some of the deputies are racist and they verbally abuse them,” Butt said the women told him. “And again, whether that’s accurate or not, I don’t know. I’m just telling you what they said.”
The mayor was joined by members of the city’s Human Rights and Human Relations Commission, who are concerned about what will now happen to the 169 detainees being held here by ICE after Contra Costa County sheriff David Livingston broke a contract with ICE earlier this week.
Chris Broglio of the Human Rights and Human Relations Commission said,”Their attorneys are here, their families are here and they may very well be sent to Yuba, I understand, or other parts of the prison system.”
“The sheriff’s office does not do immigration enforcement. In fact, our policy prohibits it,” explained Sheriff Livingston.
The county says ending the contract was partly based on pressure from the public.
It’s now up to the federal government to decide what happens to the current ICE detainees being housed in the West County Detention Facility within the next 118 days. Sheriff’s deputies told Mayor Butt that they are working with ICE to try to clear as many of those cases before that deadline expires.