NJ official ousted for ‘hurtful’ ICE jokes at housing protest
🔴 A Plainfield city planning board member has been removed from her post
🔴 The official repeatedly asked housing protestors if they were "documented"
🔴 Many protestors were suddenly booted from a condemned apartment building
PLAINFIELD — A local city planner has been removed from office for making "insensitive and hurtful" remarks at a protest held by people who had just lost their homes.
Carmencita Pile went live on Facebook at a housing protest Saturday and recorded herself making jokes about calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, on protestors. Many of them had been kicked out of condemned apartment buildings throughout Plainfield in recent months, TAPintoPlainfield reported.
Pile served on the Plainfield planning board until Tuesday. Mayor Adrian Mapp announced her removal in a statement on the city's Facebook page.
📋 Petition for Plainfield official's removal
While Pile has been removed from the planning board, she also sits on the HOPES CAP board and the Plainfield Democratic City Committee. A Change.org petition started by Plainfield Councilman Richard Wyatt, who ran for mayor in 2021, looked to get her booted from those positions too.
"Her actions and statements have demonstrated a clear bias against certain groups within our community. It deeply saddens me to see someone in a position of power perpetuating discrimination and prejudice," the petition said.
The HOPES' Board of Directors said in a statement to TAPintoPlainfield that their relationship with Pile was "under review."
The petition was created Sunday and had over 1,700 signatures as of noon Wednesday.
📣 "Hurtful" jokes at housing protestors
Around 70 people joined the protest on Saturday that traveled throughout Plainfield and went to several locations including the Queen City Street Fair and the mayor's house, TAPintoPlainfield reported.
The protest focused on the several apartment buildings in Plainfield that have been condemned for poor conditions in recent months. More than half of the protestors were forced to scramble for shelter. Some were tenants at the 501 and 515 West 7th Street buildings that closed suddenly earlier this month.
Pile went up to several protestors and asked about their immigration status.
"Are you documented?" Pile said repeatedly.
She also made several jokes about calling ICE on the protestors to disperse them.
“All you need is an ICE truck, they’ll all be running," Pile said.
On Sunday, Pile again went live on Facebook. The 38-minute video started as a calm apology but quickly grew in intensity. Pile explained that she was upset that the protestors were directing their grievances at the mayor, who she said was already doing everything he could to help them.
"We were trying to help and now you come and protest? You don't give us a chance. And you go in front of the mayor's house? I mean, he handled it perfectly. I don't need to defend the mayor. What I'm defending is the part where the administration is trying to do their best," Pile said.
Pile again apologized Monday morning in a statement on Facebook.
"Recently, I made insensitive remarks during a facebook livestream that demeaned and offended LatinX/Hispanic members of the community. For this I am truly sorry and sincerely apologize. All people have the right to protest regardless of their immigration
status," Pile said.