They say they've been stalked, stopped and harassed by police officers.
And when they tried to tell their stories — the way these stories are now being told across the nation — they were yelled at, waved away and belittled in a fist-pumping, flag-waving show of aggression.
“Go get a job!” yelled a woman flicking two small American flags at a group of protesters in Frederick, Md.’s charming downtown of outdoor cafes and flower boxes, the way you might shoo away an animal. “Go back to where you came from!”

There were chants of “Black lives matter!” in downtown Frederick on Monday night. But this group of protesters also said “Brown lives matter!” and that distinction triggered the ongoing, nasty immigration debate that has festered in this place for years.

The American flag was waved by counterprotesters.
The American flag was waved by counterprotesters. (Petula Dvorak/TWP)
Frederick is a town of about 72,000 with a restaurant scene banging enough to draw Washingtonians from 50 miles away. And it has a sheriff who has been loudly and gleefully catching and jailing immigrants for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for years under the 287(g) program — a controversial agreement that the federal agency can make with municipalities across the nation to deputize local cops with ICE powers.
Long problematic for the racial profiling it encouraged and the federal cash that local departments ka-chinged when they detained suspects, the 287(g) program was coming to a close after more than a decade in use until President Trump revived it. Since 2017, 287(g) agreements mushroomed in red jurisdictions across the nation. Prince William County, which several months ago saw a Trump protege leave as chair of the Board of County Supervisors, ended its involvement with the program a few weeks ago.
There have been plenty of lawsuits over the way Sheriff Chuck Jenkins (R) uses the program to allegedly profile and target the Latino population of Frederick, and a county audit scrutinizing the program’s costs is due this week.

Protesters intended to stand on the steps of Winchester Hall, the county government building, and read the testimonies of Hispanic and black residents who have been profiled by police.
Protesters intended to stand on the steps of Winchester Hall, the county government building, and read the testimonies of Hispanic and black residents who have been profiled by police. (Petula Dvorak/TWP)
Just last month, Frederick County settled the decade-old case of Roxana Orellana Santos, who was arrested by sheriff’s deputies while on her lunch break. Essentially, she was lunching while Latina.

The ACLU is currently working on the case of grandmother and 13-year Frederick resident Sara Medrano, who was pulled over for an allegedly malfunctioning taillight that turned out to be working just fine after deputies found all her papers in order. So, driving while Latina.
And I spoke with Josefina Romero, 27, who said she was recently followed by a sheriff’s deputy for seven miles on her way home from her restaurant job until he finally pulled her over for not stopping at a stop sign. She said she stopped properly at the sign and then pulled out her perfectly legal Maryland driver’s license. “I have my papers,” she said. Again, driving while Latina.
Sound familiar?
These cases echo the dangerous and too-often deadly traffic stops that the black community has endured and fought for years.
African Americans are killed by police at the highest rate in the nation — 31 out of every 1 million black people are killed by a cop. The Washington Post’s database shows police kill 23 of every 1 million Hispanics. The rate is 13 for every 1 million whites.

The protests following George Floyd’s death spawned demonstrations in Texas and California by Latino communities joining in solidarity — and familiarity.
And that happened Monday night in Frederick, a majority-white town with a population that’s 18 percent black and 17 percent Hispanic.
Protesters intended to stand on the steps of Winchester Hall, the Frederick County government building, and read the testimonies of Hispanic and black residents who have been profiled by police.
But the building was blocked off by the flag-waving counterprotesters who thwarted the group with their signs, their insults and, in at least one case, their spittle.
“I’m tired of having to turn away when these people are yelling, screaming and spitting in our faces,” Blair Hudnall, 19, said.
Hudnall is black and came to the march to stand in solidarity with the Latina women who said they’ve been profiled, just like her.
“A lot of us standing right here know what it feels like to be discriminated against,” Hudnall told the crowd, who had regrouped in front of a boutique furniture store as the counterprotesters sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” “Today is the end of that. They want to see us divided, but today we stand united. Our lives have always mattered.”
Then Romero spoke up, telling her story of always fearing that she would be detained and separated from her three children, even though she left El Salvador as a small child and is in the United States legally. Her husband was deported last year after being stopped by a sheriff’s deputy.
The stops made by deputies emboldened with ICE superpowers are not that fruitful.
“Eighty percent of the people that have been processed through the 287(g) program were detained for nonviolent and minor offenses,” said Juliana Downey, coordinator for RISE, the Resources for Immigrant Support and Empowerment Coalition of Western Maryland and one of the protest organizers.
Sixty percent of those people got nothing more than minor traffic violations, Downey said.
So much for all the violent crime the program’s stopping.
As the all-white counterprotesters grew louder and angrier behind a line of stone-faced police officers, a woman tried to pull the black and Latino protesters away.
“They’re not worth it,” Dajah Gee, 21, said. “We’re not here to argue with them. We’re here for black and brown lives.”
Gee spoke with me as the crowd broke away from the chaos and walked through the swank restaurant district filled with outdoor cafes and surprised diners.
“I’m just standing with my brown brothers and sisters,” said Gee, who is black. “We’re all tired of being dehumanized.”
And as they walked past diners eating Mexican food beneath colorful market umbrellas, they chanted.
“Black lives matter! Brown lives matter!”
And they left a thick stack of the stories and pleas they didn’t get to read on the steps. Stories of being stopped, of being afraid.
Giovanni Zevallos simply wanted to say “Gracias” — thank you.
Dilicia Rosabell Fuentes said “Necesitamos ayuda” — we need help.
Josefina Romero didn’t use that chance to tell government officials about being stalked and stopped. Instead, she left them with this: “We are USA.”