The Providence Journal reports that a U.S. Immigration Court judge has ruled that there is insufficient cause to deport Luis Mendonca, the Cape Verdean national who allegedly was assaulted while handcuffed by a Providence police detective in a highly publicized incident recorded by a surveillance camera.
Judge Brenda O’Malley Tuesday ordered Mendonca freed, but he was immediately turned over to the custody of Massachusetts authorities to face a misdemeanor criminal charge by the North Attleboro, Mass., police.
Mendonca, 21, whose last known address was in Central Falls, was being held Wednesday in the Suffolk County, Mass., House of Correction pending a state court appearance, according to one of his lawyers, John P. Garan.
The U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement had asked the immigration court to order Mendonca’s removal from the United States due primarily to a Rhode Island shoplifting conviction. Mendonca has lived in the U.S. since he was 8 years old and, under federal law, is a lawful permanent resident alien.
Besides the pending North Attleboro case, Mendonca also was convicted of having assaulted two Rhode Island School of Design security officers during the incident on Oct. 20, 2009 in which Mendonca allegedly was brutalized. Mendonca has appealed that conviction in Rhode Island Superior Court.