Willem Van Spronsen, a resident of Vashon in Washington, was a carpenter by profession. During a demonstration outside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Detention Centre, he was accused of firebombing the centre and was thus arrested. As per the Washington Post, he has been declared as an anarchist and that he claimed to be associated with antifascists.
Continue reading to know more about him and the incident.
It was on July 13, 2019, at 4 am at the Northwest Detention Centre. Four officers arrived at the scene and ask for Van Spronsen. They claimed that he was carrying flares and a rifle and was trying to put on fire a large propane tank so as to set buildings on fire. They said that he continued to throw flammable objects on buildings and cars.
Willem Van Spronsen Personal Life
A carpenter, Willem, used to live in the Vashon area of Washington. He has a daughter who considers herself as an advocate liberal pacifism. She has described her father as a person who supports anarchism and that she disagrees with various of his father’s principles like the use of force and weapons while fighting etc.
He has been active on social media by using a pseudonym Emma Durutti, which is a combination of the names of anarchists in the history, Emma Goldman and Buenaventura Durutti. He has also been a part of various protests such as the Occupy Wall Street protests etc. Earlier, he was also involved with Alcoholics Anonymous.
He took to write a statement in the form of a manifesto which explained his ideology and the political justification for attacking the ICE facility. He has explained it in a manner which signifies his hatred towards these institutions as he has referred them to as ‘evil forces’. He talks about the time coming to take action against the forces of evil.
Praise Of The Police Officers
Pertaining to the situation caused by Willem and his refusal of the order to drop his gun when the four officers ordered him to, forced the officers to fire at him in order to save other people in the vicinity. The police officers fired two bullets which hit him and led to his death.
The experience of the officers involved in the incident in the Police Department ranged from nine months to 20 years. These officers have been put on administrative leave by the department, the leave being of a paid nature. The Police Chief, Don Ramsdell, has identified and called the actions of the officers as courageous and honourable. He has also said that numerous lives, that of the detainees, employees etc. were saved as a result of the commitment of these officers to save and protect the fellow human beings.
The incident has been defined as such which could have turned out to be mass murder or mass killing of the employees and detainees of the detention centre, as quoted by the Head of the US ICE Office of Professional Responsibility, Shawn Fallah.
Reasons And Consequences
No detainees or staff members were hurt due to the incident and the centre cancelled the visitation for the day. The attack came as a kind of a response to the new legislation passed by the Trump Government regarding the plans for the mass arrests of undocumented immigrants, due to which a large number of people were found protesting at the detention facility.
About The Detention Facility
This Northwest Detention Facility is a privately owned centre, owned by a private company called the Geo Group. The capacity of the facility is set at 1,575, making it one of the largest detention centres of all in the country.
Willem Van Spronsen Previous Arrests
Van Spronsen was previously arrested the last year, i.e., in 2018 amidst a loud protest at the Tacoma Facility. As the police was detaining a fellow protestor, in order to save him, Willem lunged forward on the policeman, holding him at his neck to be able to free the 17-year-old captured by the police.