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Boston jogger stopped by ICE joined by supporters on West Roxbury run

Bena Apreala had company on two of his runs Monday.

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A Roslindale man who was stopped by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents while jogging in West Roxbury last week was joined by supporters on a run around the neighborhood on Monday.

Bena Apreala, 29, went for a run with City Councilor Matt O’Malley in the morning, nearly a week after Apreala, who is Black, was questioned by three, white ICE agents while running on VFW Parkway — an interaction partially caught on video that was widely shared on social media.

O’Malley, who represents West Roxbury and jogs in the area himself, said the Oct. 6 incident was unlawful, “outrageous and unacceptable.”

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“Racial profiling should not happen here or anywhere else,” he wrote on Twitter the following day.

On Monday afternoon, Apreala was joined by Black Lives Matter supporters during a second run on West Roxbury Parkway and was cheered on by onlookers participating in a weekly BLM vigil, UniversalHub reports.

Apreala told WBUR last week the ICE agents approached him after driving up to him in two SUVs with tinted windows. He said they did not initially identify themselves as law enforcement officers.

“These guys just hopped out in full camouflage uniforms with masks over their face, and stopped me, and told me to immediately identify (myself),” he said. “I was confused as to whether or not they were even legitimate authority.”

Apreala said he provided his name and address and told them he is a U.S. citizen. He was able to leave the scene soon after he began recording the interaction, according to the news station.

The incident led many officials to call for answers from ICE, including Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who demanded an immediate investigation into what happened.

ICE ultimately released a statement on the interaction, stating that its agents were searching for “a previously deported Haitian national with multiple criminal convictions and pending cocaine and fentanyl trafficking charges that may have been residing in the area.”

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“An individual matching the subject’s description appeared in the area associated with their subject,” the statement said. “The ICE officers approached him, identifying themselves as Police/ICE, and asked to speak with the individual. During the encounter, ICE officers determined the individual was not the subject of their investigation and that he did not have any additional information regarding their subject or his whereabouts and was free to leave the scene.”

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