Man arrested at 2018 ICE protest in Morrisville pleads guilty to assaulting officers

A Greenville man accused of choking and tearing the shirt of Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents in Morrisville last fall pleaded guilty to his charges Thursday in federal court in New Bern.

Daniel Oliver-Perez, 20, was charged with two counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding government officials on Nov. 23, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of North Carolina.

On that day, Oliver-Perez went to the ICE Application Support Center in Morrisville with an unnamed person, according to the release. In the release, the person is referred to as KP.

The News & Observer previously reported that Oliver-Perez went to the ICE office with his father, Samuel Oliver-Bruno, who had been living in a church basement while petitioning to delay his deportation to Mexico. He was asked to go to the office to provide fingerprints for his petition, The N&O reported.

That day, ICE officers were attempting to “execute an administrative arrest warrant” against KP, the release said. An ICE officer told KP, who was standing with Oliver-Perez, that he needed to go with him, the release said.

An ICE spokesperson told The N&O last fall that Oliver-Bruno is a “convicted criminal who has received all appropriate legal process under federal law, has no outstanding appeals, and has no legal basis to remain in the U.S.”

Oliver-Perez grabbed KP, the release said, to prevent him from leaving. The two officers tried to pull him away from KP, the release said, and eventually succeeded in detaining him.

But as KP was taken away, Oliver-Perez attempted to grab KP again, the release said. He then grabbed one of the officers in a chokehold.

The News & Observer reported there was a scuffle that day outside the office with protesters surrounding the officers’ vehicle.

After Oliver-Perez released the officer, he followed them to an ICE van, where he hit the driver — a different ICE officer — and grabbed the steering wheel, the release said. The officer in the van managed to get away. Oliver-Perez then grabbed the first officer, ripping the officer’s shirt, the release said.

“Impeding ICE Officers in the performance of their duties is dangerous and will not be tolerated, and ICE will continue to aggressively pursue criminal charges against such individuals,” said an ICE interim director, John Tsoukaris, the release said.

The incident prompted a joint statement from Reps. David Price and G.K. Butterfield, who accused ICE and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with coordinating efforts to bring Oliver-Bruno out of his church sanctuary to face arrest.

Oliver-Bruno was deported in early December, a week after the incident in Morrisville, The N&O reported.

Oliver-Perez is a U.S. citizen, The N&O previously reported.

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Ashad Hajela reports on public safety for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He studied journalism at New York University.