Migrant worker arrested in assault

Posted Aug. 02, 2010, at 9:04 p.m.

ROCKPORT, Maine — Police arrested a Haitian migrant worker Friday after a fight broke out on the blueberry barrens.

Rockport Police Chief Mark Kelley said Monday that the fight between two workers on the Mill Street blueberry grounds occurred after one blueberry raker reached across and raked into the area of another. The separate blueberry areas are marked with string.

Harvester Alfrance Moneus, 26, “got irritated” with the man who reportedly raked in his area, Kelley said, and allegedly hit him on the head with his blueberry rake.

By the time police had arrived, the fight was over and Moneus was walking toward the bus used to transport the harvesters. He was cooperative with police, who charged him with assault after consulting the Knox County District Attorney’s Office, Kelley said.

The other raker was taken to Penobscot Bay Medical Center and was treated and released, Kelley said. Victims of crime typically are not named by the Bangor Daily News and he was not identified by the police chief.

Police initially worked with an on-site translator to find out what had happened.

“The more we spoke with the gentleman that got a summons for assault, the better his English became,” Kelley said.

An official at the District Attorney’s Office recommended charging Moneus and then releasing him to the “farm boss,” Kelley said.

His court date was set for Sept. 13, but Kelley said it is highly unlikely that he would appear for that.

“We felt that we should check with the DA’s office, and the border patrol caught wind of it,” Kelley said.

Rockport police called U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Calais and they ran Moneus’ worker identification number through their system. His visa allows him to work in the United States until July 22, 2011, but Kelley said that the border patrol agents would seek to have him deported.

“Migrants don’t get treated much differently than anybody else,” he said. “If they do anything inappropriate, they get charged accordingly.”

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