During the summer demonstration, protesters allege pepper spray was used by guards in an effort to end the gathering. One person, allegedly an officer at the time, drove a pickup truck into a group of people blocking the entrance to a nearby parking lot. The guard in question resigned.

Attorney General Peter Neronha subsequently began an investigation into the incident. Prosecutors interviewed dozens of witnesses, observed video footage, and requested medical records, according to Neronha.

On Wednesday, the Providence county grand jury declined to bring forth any charges on any of the guards present. Neronha did not elaborate on the reasoning behind the grand jury’s decision. The announcement means that the group did not find any actions by guards, rose to the level of criminal misconduct.

“I chose to bring this case to the grand jury because I believe that given the breadth of conduct here, the large number of people involved, and the potential need to use compulsory process in this case, the use of the grand jury would ensure the most thorough investigation of this matter,” said Neronha during a Wednesday press conference.

Neronha briefed demonstrators who were part of the August demonstration Wednesday morning.

“What happened here is just outrageous, that the state of Rhode Island is just going to let these guys get away with this kind of violence, caught on video tape for all the world to see,” said Jared Goldstein, one of the witnesses and associate dean at Roger Williams University Law School.

Goldstein and another witness, Tim DeChristopher,  complained about the nature of questioning by prosecutors. DeChristopher said that the prosecutors questions seemed to focus on the potential harm the demonstrators might have caused during the protest.

“The prosecutors made the decision about how to present the case. They chose what facts to present, and they presented it in a way that led directly to this result,” said Goldstein.  

Nerohna said he understands the frustration that the protestors felt following the announcement, but stood by the grand jury process.

“There are instances when witnesses may read into the questions things that may not be there,” Neronha said. “We entrust our system. [In] 20 years of doing this, I’ve never criticized a grand jury and I won’t do.”

But activists said Wednesday’s announcement erodes public trust in law enforcement and the legal system.

“What Neronha announced, in effect, is that in the state of Rhode Island, there is no equal protection of the law,” said Tal Freiden an activist with the Never Again coalition which organized the August protest at Wyatt. “Immigrants can be imprisoned for no crime but seeking a better life for their families. But law enforcement, even private law enforcement has no accountability for violently assaulting peaceful protestors.”

Since April of this year, activists have been pushing for the closure of Wyatt Detention Center, a quasi-public entity in which houses immigration detainees for the federal government. The facility was created by state statute, is run privately, and overseen by a public board.

153 detainees were being held at Wyatt as of Wednesday, according to a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. 

“I am obviously disappointed with the results of the grand jury process,” said Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, who previously protested the agreement between ICE and Wyatt. Federal mediation between the city and bondholders who are owed millions in revenue from Wyatt is ongoing. 

Wyatt officials offered no comment following the announcement, but activists promised to continue protesting for the closure of the facility.