MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (WCCO) — A group of Somali men and women have filed a class action lawsuit against the federal government after a failed deportation attempt earlier this month.
Court documents reveal at least 10 of the plaintiffs are from Minnesota and allege they were subjected to inhumane and deplorable conditions on a stalled plane.
Earlier this month, nearly 100 people being deported back to Somalia by ICE were taken onto a plane chartered from Louisiana to Somalia.
It only made it as far as Dakar, Senegal in West Africa because of pilot issues at a stop over, but the detainees remained shackled and bound on the runway for 23 hours.
The lawsuit alleges when the plane’s toilets overflowed with human waste, the detainees were forced to urinate on themselves or in bottles.
Detainees were also reportedly kicked, struck and dragged and immigration officials made verbal abuse and threats.
In the end, the flight returned back to Miami and for now, those individuals are being held in a detention facility in Florida.
On Wednesday morning, the mother of 34-year-old Canada Arten, a Minnesota man who was on that plane, spoke out alongside the family’s attorney, saying her son’s previously broken hand was not treated correctly on the flight.
“I hope that the Department of Homeland Security will do the right thing and realize they messed up big here and will try to redress for these people with the pending litigation here,” said Rachel Petersen, Arten’s attorney.
A district judge in Florida has issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the government from deporting these individuals to Somalia.
That order remains in effect until Jan. 2, 2018.