U.S. Prosecutors Seek 70-Month Sentence For Another Liberian On Tuesday Who Attacked ICE Agents

By Travis Andersen Globe Staff |

Team of ICE’s agents

A Liberian national with “a history of violent aggressive behavior and domestic abuse” should spend 70 months in federal prison for badly injuring an officer attempting to transport him back to his home country in August, prosecutors said Friday.

Federal prosecutors filed their sentencing request for Mohammed Kenneh in US District Court in Boston. Kenneh, who is in his mid-30s, pleaded guilty in January to resisting a federal officer.

The assault occurred on Aug. 29, when two ICE deportation officers, identified only by the initials as JS and DM, arrived at the Nashua Street Jail in Boston to process Kenneh for removal, US Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office wrote in Friday’s sentencing memo.

Kenneh had been jailed in 2015 for violating a restraining order, and ICE later initiated removal proceedings. An immigration judge ordered him deported to Liberia in July 2016.

But when the officers arrived at the jail more than a year later to carry out the order, Kenneh wasn’t having it, according to Friday’s filing.

Prosecutors said “a brief struggle ensued” when the officers placed Kenneh’s fingerprints on removal documents, and things escalated when they arrived at Logan International Airport in a transport van.

Kenneh, initially granted lawful permanent residence in the US in 2000, refused to exit the van and “used his shoulders and head to strike” JS, knocking him to the floor, the filing said. Kenneh wrapped his handcuffs around JS’s right wrist and twisted the cuffs forcefully, causing injuries to the officer’s wrist, according to prosecutors.

The other officer intervened and helped JS physically remove Kenneh from the van onto the sidewalk, records show.

“During the altercation, JS suffered cuts and bruises to his right wrist and leg” and was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment, the document said. Meanwhile, ICE decided to take Kenneh back to the Boston jail.

Prosecutors said Friday that JS “sustained cuts and bruises to his left hand, right wrist, and leg, as well as stretched tendons, swelling, pain, and overall weakness in his right hand and wrist, which required treatment. … The defendant’s deliberate actions in assaulting JS caused not just foreseeable, lasting physical effects, but also psychological effects that should not be overlooked.”

Kenneh’s court-appointed lawyer couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Prosecutors wrote that Kenneh “appears to have a history of violent aggressive behavior and domestic abuse. This is clearly documented in his criminal convictions, but also evident from the extensive number of other criminal arrests, the majority of which have resulted in dismissals.”

Three women took out four separate restraining orders against Kenneh between 2002 and 2012, prosecutors said, and he “has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. He has participated in brief alcohol detox programs three times in the past, and is not interested in receiving additional substance abuse treatment.”

In addition, Kenneh had prior convictions for breaking and entering in 2008 and violating a restraining order in 2014, records show.

On their filing Friday, prosecutors conceded that Kenneh’s “strong reaction” to impending deportation to Liberia was “understandable.”

“Nevertheless, the defendant’s deliberate assault of JS, who was merely executing his professional duties, warrants a significant period of incarceration,” the government wrote.

Kenneh is slated for sentencing on Tuesday.

Prosecutors said Kenneh will likely “be placed into removal proceedings and then deported to Liberia” when he completes his sentence.

Source: Boston Globe

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About Cholo Brooks 13493 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.