In response to an emergency request filed by the RI ACLU, a judge has halted the deportation of a key witness in the RI ACLU’s lawsuit on behalf of the family of Hiu Lui (“Jason”) Ng. Ng was a 34-year-old Chinese detainee who died last August while in the custody of immigration officials at the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls. Prison officials denied Ng appropriate medical care despite his complaints of excruciating pain. He was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and a broken spine less than a week before his death.
U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith ordered that the date of Roger Gracias Lozano’s deportation be moved from March 12 to May 12 in order to allow him to be deposed by the ACLU’s attorneys. Gracias Lozano was Ng’s cellmate and friend in Wyatt, where he witnessed many of the assaults and deprivations against Ng and helped care for him before his death. Judge Smith agreed with RI ACLU volunteer attorney Fidelma Fitzpatrick, who asserted that Gracias Lozano needed to remain in the United States to be deposed so that his witness testimony could be preserved for a future trial seeking damages against Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Wyatt, and many other defendants. The judge rejected arguments from ICE’s attorney that he had no authority to block ICE from proceeding with Gracias Lozano’s deportation next month.