Unrelated incident leads to false ICE sighting on campus


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Police Services Lt. Tom Holt (right) and Corporal Charles Hankins arrest a Contra Costa College student detained for possession of marijuana in the Campus Center Plaza on Feb. 15.

By Roxana Amparo, Efrain Valdez, Staff Writers

There were concerns that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were on the Contra Costa College campus Feb. 15, but campus officials said there is no evidence that any federal agents were here.

That day, after finding out about the rumors, Vice President Tammeil Gilkerson wrote, via email to all campus employees, “We immediately contacted (Police Services) Lt. Tom Holt and he confirmed with Richmond dispatch that there have been no reports of federal agents entering our jurisdiction.”

Also, college President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh said, via email, the rumors concerning ICE on the CCC campus began at St. Cornelius Catholic School in Central Richmond when a parent reported ICE sightings near the college.

“Per Lt. Holt, if ICE agents were entering our campus, the protocol is to call and notify the local dispatch centers,” Gilkerson said in her email. Through a resolution passed on Dec. 14, 2016 in Martinez, CCC and Los Medanos and Diablo Valley colleges were granted “sanctuary” status.

The resolution states in part, “Be it further resolved, the Contra Costa Community College District will not cooperate with any effort, federal or otherwise, to create a registry of individuals based on any legally protected characteristics, such as religion, national origin, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

All students and employees of the three colleges are protected under this resolution.

In an apparently unrelated incident, around 10:30 a.m. Feb. 15, Police Services received an anonymous call from someone in the Applied Arts Building who said a student smelled like marijuana and was carrying a bag of weed, Holt said.

“We got a proper description of the student,” he said. “So when we saw him we detained him and found a phone from a previous crime.”

The suspect was handcuffed near the Campus Center Plaza and taken to Police Services for questioning, but the bag of weed was missing.

Also, Police Service officers were gathered at the college for the “Coffee with a Cop” event taking place in Fireside Hall from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Reports were that part of the concerns regarding a possible ICE sighting coming from students on campus.

People off campus was due to so many police officers gathered around campus for the event, and the earlier arrest near the Campus Center Plaza.