Woman bit immigration officers during status check, court hears
A woman on trial for biting two immigration officers was defending herself, according to her lawyer.
Isabelle Pierre, 34, of Gamble Heights, is on trial before Magistrate Samuel McKinney on two counts of assaulting a public officer and obscene language.
Prosecutors allege that Pierre bit Sebastian Joyce and Romia Rolle when they stopped her for an immigration check on May 7, 2019 and that she used obscene language to Rolle’s annoyance.
She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Joyce testified yesterday that he was part of an operation when they saw a group of people behaving in a suspicious manner in front of Glamorous Vogue on East Street.
Joyce said the people spoke with a “Haitian dialect” and they stopped to check their immigration status. Joyce said one of the people admitted that he had no papers.
Joyce said Pierre, who owns the store, in an expletive-laced rant refused to produce identification and proof of status for the officers. Joyce said she walked past the officers and headed inside the shop.
Joyce said that Pierre walked out the shop’s back door and headed to her car.
The witness said that he followed her and stood between the door to prevent her from leaving — and that’s when she bit him on the left forearm.
Pierre’s lawyer, Crispin Hall, suggested that Joyce had no right to detain her.
However, Joyce maintained that the Immigration Act permitted officers to arrest people who refused to provide proof of status.
Hall said, “You had no right to detain her; you assaulted her and she was defending herself.”
The case continues on August 9.