Transit Cop from Minnesota Who Asked Man’ is he was “Here Illegally” Still Working as Officer


The Minnesota transit cop who set into motion the deportation of an undocumented immigrant after inappropriately questioning him about his immigration status on a public train is still working as a full-time officer at a neighboring police department, said the local police union.

Officer Andy Lamers came under fire after a viral video showed him asking a metro train rider if he was “here illegally.” He was not fired but resigned from the Metro Transit Department in the middle of an internal investigation into the incident, said Sean Gormley, executive director of Law Enforcement Labor Services in statement on Wednesday.

“Officer Lamers was not terminated by the Metro Transit for any policy violation,” he said. “In fact, Officer Lamers resigned on his own accord, in part to try to spare Metro Transit from further scrutiny. He regrets the attention this issue has brought to his fellow officers at Metro Transit.”

Lamers, who was working part-time as a transit officer, is still a full-time officer “in good standing” at the New Hope Police Department, Gormley added.

New Hope, Minnesota, is about 17 miles from Minneapolis.

After inquiring about his legal status, Lamers arrested Ariel Vences-Lopez for not paying the $1.75 train fare, as well as for obstruction and providing a fictitious name.

The officer also used a stun gun on the man after he “stood up and refused requests to sit,” according to an incident report.

Shortly after his arrest, immigration officials detained Vences-Lopez and judge issued an order of removal.

He is scheduled to be deported on June 6, said his immigration lawyer Danielle Robinson Briand.

“He knows what happened to him was unjust, but he resigned to it,” she said.

“He’s still in a state of shock. It happened so quickly,” she added. “But he’s happy that so many people are supporting him.”

The state of Minnesota does not allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, so they rely on buses and trains to get around, she said.

“Department of Homeland Security officers are exploiting this vulnerability and are staking out public transportation to round people up,” she said. “And now we know that transit officers are also acting as immigration officials.”

“These individuals are damned if you do and dammed if you don’t,” she said.

Vences-Lopez, who came to the U.S. in 2013 from Mexico, was working for a roofing company, she said.

He was previously cited for driving without a license, which led to his removal order, she said.

Metro Transit Police Chief John Harrington slammed Lamars in a statement last week, saying his actions were “not reflective of, nor does it represent, the practices and procedures of Metro Transit officers.”

Harrington said department policies make clear that its officers will not act as immigration officers.

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